MEDFORD, Ore. —Congress passed a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill Wednesday. To many families struggling to make ends meet, this comes as great news. According to local experts, the need has only grown during the pandemic.
“We really have families who are literally choosing between a place to live and whether or not they can feed their families,” says Lisa O’Connor with the Family Nurturing Center.
After what’s been a grueling 12 months financially for many, there is relief coming. The $1.9 trillion Covid relief package passed Wednesday by the House, means $1,400 checks to millions of Americans, and up to $1,400 per dependent. Thousands of local families are struggling to get by, and that number has only increased during the pandemic.
“I think the challenges that families have experienced over this last year, typically struggling then compounded by the pandemic, and then you add fires, we definitely have a crisis of huge proportion,” says O’Connor.
O’Connor’s Family Nurturing Center provides support to families with young children. She says over the last year the non-profit has seen a huge rise in families asking for help with even basic needs.
“We have families on the regular asking for things like beds, asking for toilet paper, asking for toothpaste, asking for things people take for granted,” says O’ Connor.
In Josephine County, the situation isn’t much different. Food Bank Executive director Kim Collins says they’ve helped people who’ve never needed assistance before.
“There were a lot of folks who it took like 9 months for them to get their unemployment and so they really struggled greatly just meeting the needs of their family each month putting food on the table,” says Collins.
While the bill provides some much-needed relief, O’Connor says it’s only temporary.
“Basic needs are going to be more than likely be what families are going to end up using this money for, it’s not an extra paycheck that they can put into savings for a rainy day, it’s raining now,” says O’Connor.