$ 250,000 to Bluefield Union Mission: Justice Announces Distribution of Remaining CARES Funds Statewide | News

BLUEFIELD – The Bluefield union mission is offered $ 250,000 on the remaining balance in the CARES law.

Governor Jim Justice made the announcement Thursday morning during his pandemic briefing as he detailed how the state will distribute the remaining $ 122 million in CARES funding, which totaled $ 1.25 billion and was donated to the state by the federal government last year to help with the pandemic.

Several other missions in the state will also receive the same as Bluefield to help provide services to the needy, including missions in Charleston, Clarksburg and Huntington.

Craig Hammond, director of the Bluefield Union Mission, said it was a “very nice gesture” on the part of the state and a “first” for the mission.

“We have a 90-year tradition of relying on God and his people for our resources,” he said. “It’s new to us.”

Hammond said the news will be presented to the mission board and the board will make decisions about the money.

Justice said the remaining $ 122 million was being put in “buckets” and distributed across the state.

He had previously announced that $ 48 million would go towards expanding nursing education programs in the state, including starting a new one at Concord University.

These are long term solutions to the nursing shortage, but some of that money will also go to recruiting nurses and other medical professionals to come to West Virginia now and incentives to retain them. professionals already here.

Justice said $ 10 million of the $ 122 million would be used for an “emergency management crisis fund” for first responders.

“These are the real heroes,” he said, but no further details on how this money will be spent have been released.

“More details will come,” he said, but local first responders “will be involved in this”.

Another $ 22 million will be used to provide incentives to get people back into the workforce.

Although the state’s unemployment rate has reached record highs, he said many people have not returned to work in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“We still have people at home,” he said, “and we have to get them back into the workforce… Our economy needs these people. We are begging more and more people to enter the workforce.

The court said the details of the incentives had not been finalized, but to be eligible, “you must get a job and be in that job for more than 90 days” and then have the opportunity to earn an incentive.

“The state always has hungry people,” Justice said, explaining why $ 7.25 million will be distributed to pantries and homeless shelters.

An additional $ 6 million is earmarked for the Salvation Army in the Potomac area, which includes Beckley and his building, which needs work.

Justice said the money will help expand programs and deliver services.

Two universities will also receive part of the funding.

The University of West Virginia will receive $ 3 million to help expand remote working facilities across West Virginia, which will be open to the public and have free Wi-Fi.

Shepherd University will receive $ 500,000 to help fund photobiomodulation therapy (PBM), where a practitioner applies low-intensity lasers or light-emitting diodes to the surface of the body to improve tissue repair and reduce pain and l ‘inflammation. PBM is seen as a way to treat certain painful medical conditions instead of using opioids.

“Light therapy can manage pain and do a lot of things and can help with COVID,” Justice said.

The WV Game Changer program, which has been vital during the COVID-19 pandemic due to increased drug use, will receive $ 2 million, Justice said. The program is a student-powered substance abuse prevention movement, connecting West Virginia students and the educators who care about them through a coordinated and comprehensive prevention education program.

Some of the funding will also be used for improvements to the West Virginia State Fairgrounds in Fairlea, including the West Virginia Building, which the court says is “collapsing.”

Ultimately, $ 15.2 million will stick around and go into a “cleanup” while agencies take a “deep dive” and see if additional spending emerges.

“This should close the CARES money balance,” he said.

– Contact Charles Boothe at [email protected]

Elna M. Lemons