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Louisville Metro Council approves $2.7 million for COVID-19 emergency relief

The relief fund would only be used to reinforce existing programs offering food assistance and emergency housing.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Council voted to approve a $2.7 million relief package to assist those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“These are uncertain times and I know there are many who are wondering what will happen next. It is my hope the Council’s action tonight will help reassure everyone their leaders are aware of the need and we encourage everyone to stay calm. We will get through this together,” said President David James, District 6.

The relief fund would only be used to reinforce existing programs offering food assistance and emergency housing. No new programs would be created using the fund. The Metro Office of Resiliency will manage spreading the money towards organizations the city already partners with, such as Dare to Care, Community Ministries, and Neighborhood Place. 

"I think it's critical that we have resources available for people in the community as they face these unprecedented challenges," main sponsor Councilman Marcus Winkler, said. 

As part of a one-time revenue surplus from the previous year, the money was originally intended to help pay down on the city’s pension fund, which is one reason some council members disagreed with the ordinance. 

"It may seem like the valiant thing to do and it may garner a lot of cheers but it will come with a price tag and that price tag is certain and that price tag we will be dealing with in June," Councilman Brent Ackerson said. 

“Our city faces an unprecedented challenge as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Countless families across our community are going to be impacted in ways large and small. While our pension obligations are not going away, we believe the immediate need of those affected is paramount at this time,” said Councilman Markus Winkler (D).

There will be a three person panel to act as oversight and help decide how the money will be allocated. It will be made up of one representative from the mayors office, one representative Metro Council President David James will decide, and a third representative from Metro United Way.

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