(KPIX 5) – While politicians in Washington battle over the specifics of a stimulus package for Americans in need, that need is growing for many Bay Area families and cities that could use some financial help.
According to the Labor Department, more than 26 million people are receiving unemployment benefits. Many of them were counting on getting a second $1,200 check to help get through the pandemic.
Roberto Hernandez started feeding his community in May out of his garage. Now he runs the Mission Food Hub in San Francisco.
“We started for Cinco de Mayo with 500 families. By the end of May, it was 3,000 families. And now it’s 7,000 plus families a week,” Hernandez told KPIX 5.
Lines wrap around blocks in the Mission District as people struggle to feed their families.
Arelia Martinez spoke through a translator saying, “During this time, she hasn’t worked in the last seven months. Being able to put on the table for her little kids has been especially difficult.”
The anxiety for families has risen after President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that he will halt talks on a stimulus package with Democrats until after the election. While he has softened his stance, the repercussions have already been felt in the retail sector and within local governments.
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said, “If we get money, it’s going to be a total surprise.”
The mayor said he wasn’t counting on getting a bailout from the federal government but any extra funding would have helped. Instead, the City has a hiring freeze and layoffs may come in the future.
The loss of tax revenue from COVID-19 has impacted the city’s ability to serve the residents, with the police department taking the hardest hit.
Mayor Butt says the number of officers on the streets has dropped by 20 percent.
“People are talking about defund the police. We don’t have to plan to do that, it’s already happened,” he said.