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Federal relief packages help local organizations, families

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 6:44 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A new round of COVID relief is up in the air after President Trump nixed negotiations in a tweet Tuesday, though he may be reconsidering.

Those federal relief packages make a tangible difference across the region as many continue to adapt to the pandemic.

Jaime Snead is vice president for DePaul Community Resources and her office has migrated into her home.

“My commute is a quick trip to the basement each morning so that’s very different,” Snead said.

DePaul Community Resources supports foster families and children and gives them the training to succeed.

“We are in the people business,” Snead said. “We very much are hands-on with human beings which is really tough right now with COVID.”

When the pandemic began they quickly made the decision to go remote, and that meant making a big investment in technology.

“All together for our whole organization it was upwards of $50,000 to purchase about 100 iPads and several laptops as well as the new phone system, as well as Zoom,” Snead said.

DePaul applied for CARES Act money through Roanoke City to help them with those unplanned costs.

“We could not have done that and still been able to meet the needs of our clients without those grant dollars,” Snead said.

Those are the types of programs federal relief packages are helping.

So when President Trump nixed negotiations for COVID relief in a tweet Tuesday, there were major market swings on Wall Street.

Since then the President has backtracked, saying he would be willing to send out another round of stimulus checks, and approve other relief programs.

“What we saw last night was a whiplash, from a complete no, there are no more negotiations and then just a few hours later it was no we need these very particular pieces of legislation,” Roanoke College History Professor Ivonne Wallace Fuente said.

Fuente said this type of announcement so close to the election is not unheard of, but how it’s being presented is unprecedented.

“So those kinds of things are an expected part of the electoral process but in recent memory we haven’t seen a president be as explicit as this one has been with the recent tweets about withholding a particular benefit in a way that might really influence how people would want to vote,” Fuente said.

The tweets and changes have very real effects on our community because those relief packages ease the burden on families and organizations throughout our hometowns.

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