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Local United Way provides COVID assistance

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The United Way of Chaves County has some emergency relief funding available for local residents who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19.

The agency established the $104,500 COVID Emergency Funding for Families in April using money donated by various entities, and it still has about $70,000 left to disburse, said Executive Director Sherry Mumford.

“We don’t usually offer this type of direct assistance ordinarily,” she said, “but this hasn’t been an ordinary year and the board decided that we really needed to be at the forefront of assisting.”

Those approved for the funding can have a maximum of $500 in one month paid directly to landlords or utility companies. People can apply for up to two months of assistance. Mumford said the agency already has helped more than 50 local families.

“They have to have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “That means they have to have lost their job, had a reduction in hours or had extra expenses because of it.”

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An example of extra expenses could include increased babysitting or child care expenses.

Eligible recipients must be Chaves County residents and must fill out an online application at www.unitedwayccnm.org. They also must provide contact information, proof of income, copies of identification for all household members and copies of the bills or rental agreements they want assistance with paying.

Applications can be made at any time, and payments are typically processed each week, Mumford said. While applications cannot be made over the phone and the United Way office is closed to the public right now, people with questions about the application can call the office at 575-622-4510.

Contributors to the fund are the James and Amy Johns Trust, which gave $74,500; United Way Worldwide, which provided $20,000; and Xcel Energy and Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, which donated $5,000 each.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.