Local leaders worry about running out of money to fight COVID

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Local leaders are worried about running out of money to fight COVID-19.

The latest stimulus deal being worked out in Washington D.C. has no money for local governments.

Leaders say it’s federal CARES money that is funding testing, keeping people in their homes, and keeping small businesses open.

If that money goes away, those programs could too.

“The organizations that will benefit from these dollars are providing services that are invaluable to the health of our community,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.

“To me, this is where we’re having a positive impact, and it would be a serious mistake for Congress to adjourn for the holidays before addressing these issues,” said Mayor Tom Barrett.

Current funding runs out Dec. 31.

Mayor Barrett worries what that means for any number of programs.  One in particular, rental assistance.

“There could be a horrible situation in housing, not just in Milwaukee but in the nation, if we don’t have that assistance at the local level,” said Mayor Barrett.

But Wisconsin Congressman Bryan Steil says this round of stimulus should be more targeted to make sure it gets directly in the hands of people who have been hurt by COVID-19.

“What I would like to see is us tailor this to those people who have been negatively impacted through no fault of their own, rather than the true broad brush strokes that we saw in the original coronavirus relief package,” said Rep. Steil.

As a deal inches closer, local leaders want people to have their voices heard.

"Contacting your congressional representative and senator and tell them that we need this funding at the state and local level,” said Crowley.

“Now is the time for action,” said Mayor Barrett.

The eviction moratorium also ends Dec. 31.  The mayor is hoping that extending that is also part of the deal.

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