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Douglas County dishes out unspent CARES Act funding

Help for rent, food, mental health and more
Posted at 10:45 AM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 11:47:53-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Many Americans are still struggling to find jobs and put food on their table.

"I lost a lot from the pandemic," said Alexia Queen.

Queen is one of the millions impacted by the economic fallout of COVID-19.

She worked as a waitress in the food industryan industry that was hit hard.

"I got cut back on hours and in return made less tips, which was a big part of my money, my income," said Queen.

Queen was able to find more steady work as a coffee barista in Omaha, but while looking, her financial situation was in fluxand she's not alone.

According to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, roughly 20% of American adults are behind on rent due to the pandemic.

"People are going to get taken care of right now by Douglas County," said commissioner James Cavanaugh.

Cavanaugh said the county is moving forward with plans to divvy up its $10 million of unspent federal coronavirus relief aid.

The county will allocate $2 million for rent and mortgage assistance, $2 million for food aid and $6 million for future mental health services.

"We will get money to people ASAP to meet those needs for rent, utilities and food and to help the small businesses make it through this tough time,” said Cavanaugh.

He adds Douglas County is working to streamline the process, so people don't have to jump through hoops to get the help they need.

The unspent CARES Act money will go to the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless to distribute through other nonprofit social services.

"The idea is to provide bridge financing for the first quarter of 2021 between the end of the CARES Act in December 31, 2020 and the beginning of the new stimulus money which isn't here yet," said Cavanaugh.

More federal relief is on the way. The City of Omaha is expected to receive roughly $22 million dollars and Douglas County will get about $4 million.

Cavanaugh said the money goes quickly, so encourages those in need to look on this website for more information.

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