City of West Liberty, Iowa invested $150,000 of American Rescue Plan Act money to utility relief, food pantries, and aid to schoolchildren
West Liberty, IA – Two hundred and twenty-four West Liberty residents registered and received $400 in relief from high utility prices this week after the city of West Liberty, Iowa processed hundreds of applications for a new pandemic program funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Rev. Guillermo Trevino, Jr. of St. Joseph Catholic Church said:
“More than 224 West Liberty homes were helped with utility assistance and I want to thank city and church staff, the West Liberty Ministerial Association, and Escucha Mi Voz Iowa for working together to provide utility relief to families in need.”
On their official Facebook page, the City of West Liberty said:
“From countless community members voicing their concerns to city staff and council members dedicating their time to create this process, we are grateful for such a devoted community.”
More than 200 residents applied for the utility relief program during the first week of January at clinics hosted by St. Joseph Catholic Church and Escucha Mi Voz Iowa. Escucha Mi Voz is a faith-based immigrant and worker justice organization whose West Liberty members proposed and advocated for the program.
Last year the city of West Liberty invested $150,000 to provide up to 300 families with $400 off their electric, water, and internet bills. Supply-chain disruptions due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to high inflation since 2020, eating into the discretionary income working-class families count on to buy necessities like food, gas, and housing.
West Liberty residents interested in applying for the program can take a copy of a utility bill to St. Joseph Catholic Church during normal business hours.
In related news, Escucha Mi Voz Iowa members say they have distributed direct cash payments of $600 to more than 1,500 farmworkers and meatpacking plant workers in the last eight days, as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Farm and Food Worker Relief (FFWR) program.
The extension of the national emergency pandemic declaration yesterday means new meat-packing plant and farmworker hires this year will automatically become eligible for the USDA FFWR effort after just one day of work.