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City of Calistoga provides UpValley Family Center $200,000 in emergency funding

City of Calistoga provides UpValley Family Center $200,000 in emergency funding

The current staff of the UpValley Family Centers

The current staff of the UpValley Family Centers.

Citing an emergency funding need, the Calistoga City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a budget amendment of $200,000 for the UpValley Family Center “to address the immediate needs of our most critically impacted residents as a result of COVID-19.”

Due to the pandemic, the Calistoga UpValley Family Center has seen a significant increase in requests for assistance and services from their clients, according to a staff report. The center requested $200,000 to award individual family grants of up to $2,500 that will assist 68 low-income families in Calistoga, and provide staffing to distribute the funds.

After seeking other state and federal funding, the city is the center’s last resort, said City Manager Mike Kirn.

Councilmember Don Williams said the pandemic “came fast and hit residents hard,” also noting that the residents in need of the funds will be properly vetted where the need is real. “I’m also aware the city can’t do this every day, but for the short term it’s the right thing. It will give people some breathing room.”

The city currently contracts with the center for community support services for various individuals including senior and affordable income assistance, and immigration assistance.

Mayor Chris Canning agreed that UpValley Family Center is fiscally responsible.

Councilmember Irais Lopez-Ortega said, “These are families that support local businesses. There is no way these people can go back to their country, where the situation is even worse there.”

Councilmember Gary Kraus gave his support for the funding, adding that the council will also enter into the upcoming budget negotiations with possible cuts in mind. However, “One of the things the city is supposed to do is protect its people,” he said.

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You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or

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The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.

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The UpValley Family Centers is committed to serving the community both in times of opportunity and in times of need. During the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, even though the St. Helena and Calistoga offices remain closed, there are a variety of services available by phone and online.

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Letters: Once again being tested by an extraordinary event resulting in extraordinary need from the community we serve.

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