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Thursday, July 29, 2021

St. Louis Mayor Allocates $3 Million In Fight Against COVID-19 And Evictions

Posted By on Thu, Jul 29, 2021 at 4:50 PM

click to enlarge Mayor Tishaura Jones celebrates 100 days in office. - SCREENGRAB FROM MAYOR TISHAURA JONES  / FACEBOOK

Mayor Tishaura Jones pushed for more COVID-19 relief on her 100th day in office. Today, she announced she will allocate $3 million of local budget to fund pop-up vaccination clinics and to help families facing eviction when the federal eviction moratorium expires. The federal eviction moratorium is up on July 31 unless Congress extends it.

The relief comes as the American Rescue Plan funds are tied up in a stalemate at the Board of Estimate and Apportionment. The Board of Aldermen had agreed on a $168 million plan for the federal funds on July 13 and sent it to the E&A for approval. Jones argued with Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed over the legality of the $33 million proposed in the plan to spur economic development in north St. Louis city.



With this round of local funding, Jones hopes to “get more vaccines in arms and connect families at risk of eviction to the resources they need to stay in their homes,” according to her release.

“We masked up based on recommendations from regional doctors and health leaders from the St. Louis Pandemic Regional Task Force, but more has to be done to protect St. Louisans and stop the spread of COVID-19," Jones said in a press release. "Now, I’m taking action to expand our vaccination capability and to make sure families don’t end up out on the streets."

Approximately $1.2 million will fund vaccination pop-up clinics and acquire another city-owned mobile clinic. The $1.2 million will also be used to improve contact tracing and expand community vaccine outreach and education, especially for young people.

About $1.5 million will be used to support the more than 3,000 people facing eviction in the city. This includes legal services or mediation for those who need it. The plan also has money allotted for public benefits navigation, bridge housing, and emergency shelter for the families facing or at-risk for eviction.

In order to get the aid, Nick Dunne, a spokesman for the mayor's office, said the city recommends residents to call 211 to be connected with United Way. United Way will then direct the resident to a service provider who can help with rental or utility assistance. Other services are administered through the Department of Human Services, Dunne explained, so a "good portion of this is working with other partners who can move housing support processes along more quickly, especially given that the eviction moratorium ends on Saturday."

Follow Jenna on Twitter at @writesjenna. Email the author at jenna@riverfronttimes.com
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