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Council invests in cybersecurity, at-home care pilot program
turlock city hall
The Turlock City Council voted to spend some of the remaining federal COVID funds on cybersecurity for the City and a new program aimed at helping at-risk senior citizens.

The Council approved on Tuesday spending over $300,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds on cybersecurity protection and $200,000 on a new program to help keep senior citizens in their homes.

The cybersecurity upgrade will include the purchase of an Internet (Palo Alto) firewall, internal network firewall, endpoint protection, email security and cloud data backup.

"I think this is a huge priority and I applaud our experts who are in there every day, making sure this was the way we needed to go to protect our users, our citizens and really restore...the confidence in government," said Council member Nicole Larson.

Along with cybersecurity, the Council opted to invest in a new initiative of Turlock-based Legacy Health Endowment called Person-Centered Care. The program will provide support for qualifying individuals and families in their home to prevent unnecessary placement into a long-term care facility or falling into homelessness.  

"Person-Centered Care Project is an initiative for what we've referred to as the forgotten middle - people over 55 who are disabled or seniors who don't qualify for MediCal and need services. The program is designed to protect them from pre-hospitalization as well as unnessary placement in longterm care facilities," said Legacy Health President and CEO Jeffery Lewis.

Legacy Health is investing $650,000 into the program and will partner with a number of providers for the program, including:

    CareLinx, a for-profit community-based long-term care provider of non-medical in-home support services;
    Community Care Choices, a nonprofit palliative care program of Community Hospice Inc.;
    Community Health Centers of America, a federally qualified health center; and  
    TIN Rx, a pharmacy.

Turlock residents in Person-Centered Care will be provided services at no cost in the one-year pilot program. Legacy Health will provide the City Council with quarterly updates and a final report assessing measurable results of the program to determine if the program had beneficial impacts.

"This is so exciting; this is filling such as huge gap in the population, ones who are not at the income and don't have the disability to qualify for MediCal," said Council member Larson.

The over $500,000 the Council decided to spend on these two programs is just the most recent allocations of Turlock ARPA funding. The City of Turlock was notified in July 2021 that it would be allocated approximately $15.7 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Unlike CARES Act funding, which was intended for local governments to use to respond in the short-term for COVID-19 response, American Rescue Plan Act funds can be used by the City to assist households, small businesses, nonprofits and industries negatively impacted economically by the pandemic. The City can also use Rescue Plan Act funds to invest in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.

The Council also has previously approved spending ARPA funds for:

    The Columbia Pool renovation;
    The RAD Card, an app program that doubles customers’ spending dollars at local businesses;
    For creating a business development and assistance program; and

    For budget augmentations to unfreeze positions in public safety and fund firefighter overtime.