Houses of worship struggling due to virus can seek grants

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DETROIT (AP) — Grants from $5,000 to $20,000 are being made available in Detroit for houses of worship struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Churches, synagogues, mosques and small nonprofits can apply beginning May 3 for funding through the Faith Forward program, the city said Tuesday.

Information sessions about the program begin April 27. The city said $650,000 in funding currently is available. Major donors include the Troy-based Kresge Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Michigan, and Catholic and Jewish organizations.

Grants will be available to eligible organizations providing COVID-19 related community services that include those partnering with the city on virus vaccine sites.

Organizations that provide emergency support services like housing, food and utility assistance, and those providing health enrichment for senior citizens and mental health services also are eligible to apply.

“At times like this, we rely on the faith-based community to support us,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a news release. “Like all organizations, our faith-based partners have suffered during the pandemic as they have served others. The Faith Forward program can help sustain them as they have sustained us.”

Detroit has had more than 43,000 confirmed virus cases and more than 1,900 deaths since the start of the pandemic just over a year ago.

The city has administered more than 271,000 vaccine doses.

“We have to face the fact that COVID-19 is not over, especially in Black and brown communities,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program. “Detroit needs all hands-on-deck to vaccinate our people.”

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