Treasure Coast nonprofits looking forward to more CARES Act money for residents

Treasure Coast Food Bank officials say the need for assistance still remains
Posted at 9:46 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 23:56:05-05

STUART, Fla. — Assistance for families struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic could soon be on its way.

"I'm hoping in the next two weeks we'll hear something because I know these programs really need help," said Carol Houwaart-Diez, CEO at United Way Martin County.

President Biden's new COVID relief plan includes money for local governments to distribute.

"I don't care who you are, it doesn't discriminate," said Houwaart-Diez.

"People in this community were hit hard, unemployment has dropped, so that's a good thing but people are still under-employed, they might have gone back to work, but the hours are still cut," said Judy Cruz, President, and CEO of the Treasure Coast Food Bank.

Cruz said since Thanksgiving, the need for food has steadily been 55% above pre-pandemic levels.

"I know with the stimulus bill we're hoping that will help reduce that number a little bit," said Cruz.

Houwaart-Diez said before money can be distributed, local governments will need to decide how to do so.

"I'm hearing there will be assistance for small businesses, I'm hearing there will be assistance for non-profits, I'm hearing there will be mental health assistance, there will be basic needs so the rent, mortgage, and utility assistance," said Houwaart-Diez.

To help address those needs more efficiently, United Way organizations across the state are asking residents to complete an online survey about how coronavirus has affected them.

"We'll compile those results and it'll help us to look to see if there's any gaps in funding that we need to do," said Houwaart-Diez. "It'll help us have a better strategic plan for the next 6 months."