City organizations that depend on reimbursements from the Community Development Block Grant program have waited months to get their money because of the ransomware attack that hit New Bedford, organizational leaders say.
(TNS) — City organizations that depend on reimbursements from the Community Development Block Grant program have waited months to get their money because of the ransomware attack that hit New Bedford, Mass., organizational leaders say.
Tracy Furtado-Chagas, executive director of the Dream Out Loud Center, normally starts filing for reimbursements in August and receives money two weeks later, she said. But this year, the technical support meeting the city holds prior to those filings didn't happen until recently.
"The reality is ... all organizations have had to wait to receive funding," she said.
She said the city told her the money won't start flowing until November.
Dream Out Loud, which runs after-school and summer programs in the arts, receives $7,000 in CDBG money. That represents 6 percent of its budget, enough to make the organization late on its rent and ask instructors to wait for their paychecks, she said.
CDBG is a 45-year-old federal program that provides federal grants to state and local governments. Municipalities have latitude to use the money for various public and nonprofit services, mainly related to housing and economic opportunity.
In New Bedford, more than 20 organizations and city offices receive the funding, including the park department and senior services, the Community Boating Center, the Boys and Girls Club, Sea Lab, the United Way and YWCA.
Helena DaSilva Hughes, executive director of the Immigrants' Assistance Center, said the delay has affected her organization, which receives $8,000 toward multilingual case management, one of the center's core services.
"For three months, we haven't been able to bill," she said.
The Immigrants' Assistance Center tries to keep at least three months' funding on hand, so the delay does not represent a crisis, she said. But she knows organizations are waiting.
"I think we're all in the same boat," she said.
City spokesman Jonathan Carvalho did not provide a comment Tuesday by The Standard-Times deadline.
Furtado-Chagas said she doesn't blame the city; she blames the ransomware.
"But I do feel it's a great challenge to make it through five months of non-reimbursement for programs that are running," she said.
©2019 The Standard-Times, New Bedford, Mass. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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