LAFAYETTE, La. — Lafayette Consolidated Government officials provided updates on the on-going COVID-19 public health emergency during a press briefing on Wednesday.
LCG announced that it will begin hosting monthly town hall meetings starting next Wednesday, May 27, at 9 a.m. at the LCG building at 705 W. University Ave., in Lafayette.
The public will be able to submit questions for Lafayette-Mayor President Josh Guillory by either calling in or sending them through Facebook.
Guillory also noted that Wednesday marked the day that Lafayette's namesake, the Marquis de Lafayette, died on May 20, 1834.
Guillory spoke about the Lafayette City and Parish Councils vote Tuesday night to pass his plan to utilize nearly $850,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for small businesses in Lafayette who were not able to qualify for federal relief programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and economic injury relief loans.
Guilloy said that he had already signed the ordinance approving the funds shortly after the councils voted on them Tuesday night. The ordinance will now go before HUD for final approval.
Guillory has said once the plan has final approval that businesses may begin applying for the funds by June 1.
The Lafayette Economic Development Authority has also pledge to match the funds with $200,000 of its own, which will bring the total amount to more than $1 million for small businesses that were forced to close by the state's emergency order.
Guillory added that with the extra contribution from LEDA, businesses in municipalities outside of Lafayette will now be able to apply for the grants as well.
He said that details on the microgrants, including how they will be distributed and in what amounts, are still being finalized and will be available once HUD grants final approval for the plan.
Guillory also recognized Kim Boudreaux with Catholic Charities of Acadiana and Leah Rachal with Acadiana Regional Coalition of Homelessness for their presentations on the local homeless populations at Tuesday's council meeting.
Guillory said that anyone wishing to donate to either organization can call 311 and press 2 to speak with a LEDA representative about making a donation.
Guillory also thanked Councilwoman Liz Webb Hebert for her work to identify an additional $200,000 within the Community Developement Department that can be used for rental and utility assistance at Tuesday's meeting. Guillory said he pledged to use these funds to help local families in need.
According to Guillory, the Lafayette Utilities System is reporting 400 families with accounts that are in arears, which represents $1.2 million that is owed to LUS.
He added that he urged residents to contribute to the Share the Light program, which is administered by Catholic Charities of Acadiana and generates about $40,000 a year to help those who have trouble paying their utility bill.
Guillory then pledged to donate $5,000 from his campaign fund to the Share the Light Program, and said he would present the check at Friday's press briefing.
He asked residents to make a donation to the program by marking it on their monthly LUS bill, or by calling 311 and pressing 2 to make a larger donation.
LCG also announced that its COVID-19 press briefings will shift to twice a week, possibly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning next week.
As of noon on Wednesday, May 20, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 607 cases of COVID-19 and 23 deaths in Lafayette Parish. This includes 2 additional cases since May 19 with no change in deaths.
On May 20, LDH reported 35,316 confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state. This includes 278 additional cases than were reported yesterday.
A total of 2,485 people have died of the disease in Louisiana. This includes 27 more deaths than were reported yesterday.
The LDH is reporting that 26,249 coronavirus patients are "presumed recovered" (updated weekly).
The LDH reports that 931 people are hospitalized and that 110 require ventilators.
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