Claremore, Okla. | July 19, 2021 -- The City of Claremore is dedicating a portion of its CARES Act funding to support citizens in need of financial assistance for utilities and mental health services. The programs are designed to help offset the economic and social effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and ease the financial burdens of our most vulnerable citizens and the organizations they rely on to provide them with services.
The Claremore COVID CARES Act Utility Assistance Program will launch on Aug. 1, 2021. Claremore residents with delinquent utility accounts who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and meet the low-to-moderate income guidelines as established by HUD can apply for funding. A total of $330,000 has been allocated and will be available to Claremore residents to bring delinquent accounts current and help alleviate future utility services financial hardships until the fund is expended.
Applications will be available on July 26, 2021 to download online at the City's utility services website or at the Utility Billing office at City Hall (104 S. Muskogee). Applications will be accepted beginning Aug. 1. The program is available to named account holders and a one-time credit will be applied to utility accounts.
“The utility assistance program will ensure that our most vulnerable residents who have suffered throughout the pandemic will not go without water, power or sewer and have the basic services needed for proper health and hygiene,” said John Feary, Claremore City Manager.
The City has also dedicated $86,000 in funding to Grand Lake Mental Health Clinic (GLMHC), a non-profit mental health provider serving the mental health needs of Rogers County and the City of Claremore.
“The Grand Lake Mental Health Center is responding to the treatment barriers presented by COVID-19 by expanding their 24/7 treatment model to incorporate virtual care,” added Feary. “Removing the barriers to access medical care is a public health concern in rural Oklahoma. Grand Lake Mental Health has brought the City an innovative solution to this problem and they need to be supported in their efforts.”
GLMHC serves approximately 1,300 children and adults in Rogers County. The funding will support a program that provides individuals and families with iPads configured with a specialized, HIPAA-compliant video conferencing application and an unlimited 2-year cellular data plan. The iPads are locked-down to only allow access to the video conferencing application. The instant, 24/7, real-time video access allows patients to access a wide variety of mental health and substance abuse services in the comfort of their home. Services include regularly scheduled appointments, 24/7 crisis management services and relapse prevention services, which can help prevent individuals from needing a higher level of care in the event of a mental health crisis.
“We are honored to partner with the City and use this innovative model to increase Claremore’s access to mental health services,” said John Cantwell, Chief Operating Officer for the Grand Lake Mental Health Center.