Stimulus checks are a path to independence for those in need

Updated: Mar. 10, 2021 at 11:30 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Get ready to soon get your piece of a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package Congress just approved Wednesday.

Those $1,400 stimulus payments are expected to go out to most Americans soon. Those struggling most in Central Virginia could really use the boost. The stimulus package also extends $300 weekly unemployment pay for six more months. All of these provisions offering light in what’s seemed to be a never-ending tunnel.

While you may be deciding how you’ll treat yourself with $1,400 coming into your bank accounts, there are many in our area who don’t have the luxury.

“$1,400 in the world of getting an apartment to rent could be a double deposit. [It] could be a first month’s rent and deposit payment,” Megan Corbitt said. She heads the emergency shelter at CARITAS in Richmond, helping people who find themselves down on luck. “A lot of folks at one point were staying with someone else because that was the easiest way for them to make ends meet, and then COVID happened and then social distancing. People got scared. They lost where they could stay. Other folks, they lost their job.”

For some in our area, there have been ongoing struggles with getting and keeping unemployment benefits.

“If you’re on that fixed income or you’re looking for employment and have no income, you still have expenses and it’s coming out of negative or barely any income,” Corbitt explained.

That’s why her job has become so important.

“During the pandemic, especially if you became homeless because you had to stop working, that is something that is very hard…Imagine one day living in a home and the next day, not living in a home,” Corbitt continued.

CARITAS is providing food and shelter for those with the most need for up to 60 days. For many of them, the stimulus is more than a check. It’s a path towards independence.

“That $1,400 can go a long way regarding getting people from shelter into housing,” Corbitt said.

Because the stimulus also allows for food assistance and tax credits for children, experts estimate it will cut down the number of people living in poverty by a third.

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