Rep. Cohen says help on the way as Congress continues work on financial relief bill


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Even for people who don’t have the coronavirus, the infection could be taking a financial toll on families.

But it appears help is on the way, as Congress is finalizing plans to get money into the hands of most Americans.

Cohen and his colleagues have been trying to hammer out an economic relief package.

“It’s surreal,” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) said. “It’s something we never would have imagined.”

As the deal stands right now, most people in the Mid-South should start seeing stimulus money in their bank accounts very soon.

“This is a $2 trillion package, so there’s a lot for a lot of people, and Memphis is right there,” Rep. Cohen said.

The plan is designed to last four months. As it stands now, it would benefit anyone who earns $75,000 or less, and even people on Social Security.

They’ll be getting a one-time payment of $1,250, and married couples will receive double. Families would also see $500 per child.

SNAP payments will not only continue, but under this plan they’ll be increased.

“Unemployment insurance is going to be for four months,” Rep. Cohen said. “It’ll be 100% of your salary, so that’s a real help to people who’ve lost their jobs.”

Loans will also be made to small businesses to keep them afloat, and the congressman said there’s money for nonprofits.

As of late Wednesday, Senate leaders were still hammering out details. There is no date on when the House would vote on the bill.

“Anything that, even a small way, can create a sense of hope has to be a good thing,” said Scott Morris with nonprofit Church Health Center.

Morris works with many low-income families who need financial assistance fast-tracked.

“If you’re a server, if you’re in any type of job, especially that’s paid with cash, I can only imagine you’re worried how you’re going to feed your kids,” Morris said.

Many of the people he sees get paid not week-to-week, but day-to-day…

“It’s not a matter of can I hang on for four months, it’s can I find enough money to go the grocery store this weekend to cover food for next week,” he said.

Like so many, Morris is putting his faith in Congress that help is on the way.

“We have to be strong, and we have to realize there’s an end date, and we’re going to get through it, and life will be better when we get there,” Rep. Cohen said.

The congressman said this is a historic package that Democrats and Republicans can both agree on, and it should help people financially.

Rep. Cohen said he thinks there could be more financial relief to come that will fine-tune and address concerns that were overlooked in this first go-around.

Local healthcare nonprofit receives grant for coronavirus testing

Rep. Steve Cohen announced Wednesday that Christ Community Health Services Inc. will be receiving a grant of $4,442,578 from the Department of Health and Human Services for its ongoing work meeting the needs of the medically underserved. 

The Health Center Program supports more than 1,300 patient-directed organizations that provide preventative and primary care to medically underserved populations.

Christ Community Health Centers have seven locations across Memphis, including Hickory Hill, Orange Mound and Broad Avenue. 

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