EVANSVILLE, INDIANA (WEHT)– The COVID-19 pandemic represents a lot of loss to many people. Vanderburgh County Commissioner Ben Shoulders said he knows many people, including himself, have lost loved ones. But that’s not all.

“Let’s not also forget the financial losses that folks had. Industries were just hit so hard. Companies, individuals, self-employed, folks who run small businesses. So many different industries were effected by COVID,” Shoulders said.

Funding from the American Rescue Plan Act is available. Shoulders said $35 million has been allocated to the county. A committee came together in an initial meeting to discuss options in front of public eye.

“We could stretch this amount in a prudent way but also in a very broad way and help out a lot of different organizations, a lot of individuals, a lot of offices, a lot of places, tourism, that were hit and so forth,” Shoulders said.

But Shoulders said there’s still a lot of unknowns. Representatives from Congregations Acting for Justice and Empowerment, or CAJE, were at the meeting held on March 29, 2021. Member Tom Bogenschutz said the organization wants the committee to put some of those funds towards a crisis care center they’ve been working on at United Caring Services. This center could really help those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic battling mental health and drug crises.

“A year of isolation has increased these problems. We do need to address them quickly. This is another way that we can- getting people into treatment and getting people into lives that are more secure, safe and stable,” Bogenschutz said.

Shoulders said meeting two will be on April 7, 2021 at 11:30 AM at the Old National Events Plaza. Hopefully, he said, more information about these funds will be available.

“We are still looking at everything, understanding all of this, but this is a good problem to have,” Shoulders said.

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