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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) has successfully secured more than $2.25 million that will benefit communities throughout the region facing challenges related to COVID-19.

Applying and administering these awards on behalf of several lead communities, the PVPC will work regionally to provide funding for businesses through microenterprise assistance programs and provide public services like food assistance, job training, and case-management support services, among others.

Grant funding comes through the Massachusetts Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 program as administrated by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and appropriated through the federal CARES Act of 2020.

“The CARES Act funding we have secured via the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development will go a long way toward helping stabilize our local communities, their residents, and businesses during these unprecedented times,” PVPC Executive Director Kimberly Robinson said. “In applying for and administering this over $2 million in grants on behalf of our local communities, the PVPC is doing what we do best — adding capacity to local governments to ensure the needs of our Valley are met.”

The awards and geographic areas of impact include:

• $900,000 to Easthampton Regional (Easthampton, Granby, Hadley, Hatfield, South Hadley, Southampton, and Westhampton) for microenterprise business assistance;

• $435,000 to Agawam and Southwick for microenterprise assistance and food assistance;

• $100,572 to Chester Regional (Chester, Blandford, Huntington, Middlefield, Montgomery, and Russell) for food assistance, job training, and case-management support services;

• $430,576 to Ware Regional (Ware, Hardwick, Warren, Agawam, Belchertown, Blandford, Brimfield, Chester, East Longmeadow, Granby, Granville, Hadley, Hampden, Hatfield, Holland, Huntington, Ludlow, Middlefield, Monson, Montgomery, Russell, South Hadley, Southampton, Southwick, Wales, Chesterfield, Palmer, Plainfield, and Westhampton) for domestic-violence victim-safety programs, senior outreach (Ware, Hardwick, Warren, and Belchertown) and virtual adult literacy (Ware, Hardwick, and Warren);

• $250,000 to Spencer for microenterprise assistance and food assistance; and

• $151,200 to Warren for microenterprise assistance.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) received a $195,000 grant from Tufts Health Plan Foundation to convene a Pioneer Valley Age Friendly Collaborative that will engage member communities in planning for an aging population. This is one of 13 new community investments totaling $1.7 million that reflect the foundation’s support of collaborative community efforts and systems change to advance healthy aging.

“We have an opportunity to think differently about how our systems are addressing community needs,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “We are living in unprecedented times. We need to learn from this experience and think about how we can change the conditions that hold problems in place.”

This project, led by PVPC, formalizes an existing effort around age-friendly planning in the region. PVPC will partner with municipal planning departments, councils on aging, healthcare and service providers, community organizations, universities, and residents to create municipal age-friendly action plans that reflect the priorities of the region’s current and future older adults.

“We are excited to expand planning for healthy aging to municipalities throughout the PVPC region,” said Becky Basch, senior planner with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. “And by bringing together all of the cities and towns that are planning for an aging population, we will create a valuable space for sharing ideas and best practices at the local and regional levels.”