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Posted on: April 28, 2020

West Memphis approves $100,000 for COVID-19 relief

By Chris Luther | April 27, 2020 at 5:49 PM CDT - Updated April 27 at 6:05 PM 

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (WMC) - The City of West Memphis approved a COVID-19 relief package that will help with utilities, food and even provide housing to homeless people diagnosed with COVID-19.

Monday, the West Memphis City Council approved a $100,00 COVID-19 relief package that the West Memphis mayor says will go a long way in helping the community survive the pandemic.

In a special called meeting conducted over Zoom video call, the West Memphis City Council approved the $100,000 plan using funds from a community development block grant to help alleviate several issues arising during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t think you can do anything better with this money,” Marco McClendon, Mayor of West Memphis said.

The majority of the relief package, $20,000 dollars, will be spent on paying for COVID-19 tests.  

Another $10,000 will buy masks, gloves and hand sanitizer for people in the community who don’t have them.

“If our citizens have a mask please let the individuals who don’t have one get theirs first,” McClendon said.

A unique aspect of the plan is housing homeless citizens and families who lost their homes during the pandemic in hotel rooms that sit empty across the city.

Hotel rooms will also be used by COVID-19 patients who need a place to safely quarantine.

“Our hotels have been closed down for some time now,” McClendon said. “We don’t want that one individual in the house with seven other people risking their lives and making sure they get it as well. So we want to get that individual out of there and into a hotel.”

Other aspects of the plan will buy food for local food banks and pay for utilities for local businesses and families who are struggling.

“Once we get past and over this hurdle, I think this is really going to show that there’s nothing we can’t do together,” McClendon said.

The plan will also help feed 800 senior citizens with a hot meal every day for the next 30 days.

Mayor McClendon says if the pandemic goes longer than expected, they have another $100,000 in block grants that they can use for a second relief fund.

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