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BBCF signs on to letter calling for extension of COVID funds

The Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF) joined 80 other organizations in signing onto a letter drafted by Alabama Appleseed calling on the state to extend the deadline for cities to apply for COVID-19 relief funds though the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“Children are hungry. Parents are frightened. Teachers are overwhelmed,” the letter stated. “The pain and suffering wrought by COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis continues to devastate families and communities across Alabama. Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars are helping tremendously where local and state agencies, schools and universities, small businesses and nonprofits, and other entities have had access to these critical funds. The money has been a lifeline.”

The deadline for cities to access funds is Dec. 31, but the letter’s signatories assert that the deadline should be extended so that more communities have access to the funds as they continue to battle the worst effects of the ongoing pandemic.

“It is important to remember that even before this pandemic devastated the economy, Alabama was the fifth poorest state in the U.S. with 800,000 of our residents living in poverty,” the letter stated. “These CARES Act funds provide our best hope to ensure the economic downturn does not force these families into long-term, catastrophic conditions that will impact generations to come.”

The 10-page letter lays out a wide variety of data and insights collected by Alabama Appleseed to support its assertion that the funds are desperately needed.

Joining BBCF as signatories on the letter were Alabama Arise, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Action Fund, the Alabama Institute for Social Justice, the YMCA of Selma-Dallas County and more.

A follow-up to this story will be printed in the Wednesday, Nov. 11, print edition of The Selma Times-Journal.