Letter to the Editor

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Tanisha Stephens

Dec. 30, 2020 is not far away, and amid this most challenging year, the date itself represents another challenge — it is the last day your community is allowed by the state of Alabama to have spent its fair share of apportioned federal COVID CARES funds to fight the pandemic. After that date, these funds return to the state of Alabama.

Since the clock is ticking with so many people across the Black Belt unaware that their communities have a right to these funds, BBCF has been working overtime — literally phoning every municipality and county across 16 counties of the Black Belt, including the one you are in while reading this letter in your newspaper.

An extra challenge exists in how this funding was organized. A community or county can only access its funds on a reimbursable basis. That means your community must have enough funds in hand to start the work to make itself safer before it can collect its reimbursable funds from the state.

So many communities in the Black Belt are in difficult financial circumstances, with very little financial liquidity, and for them, seeing money on the table they cannot effectively utilize has been nothing but extra salt onto pandemic wounds.

Please urge your leaders to contact BBCF’s CARES@BlackBeltFound.org email or apply immediately through us at www.blackbeltfound.org. We have created interest free/no fees recoverable grants to help any community without enough cash on hand to begin their work for a safer community by accessing the state funds now available.

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