LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - The Las Cruces City Council voted Friday to approve an economic aid package of nearly $1.1 million in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The people are hurting" said Councilman Gabe Vasquez, who represents district three. "I think we need to get this right. I think we need to act boldly and decisively."
"This is real," added Councilwoman Johana Bencomo, who represents district four. "It's happening in our community. We have to put this money out there for agencies that already have the system and the structure to be able to do so."
A total of 60,000 New Mexicans have filed for unemployment in the past two weeks, according to the Secretary of Department of Workforce Solutions.
"There were times during the Great Recession when we would have 50,000 to 60,000 people at any one time in the unemployment system, but that number grew over a couple of years," Secretary Bill McCamley told ABC-7. "But that number grew over a couple of years. "We're quickly reaching that number, except over two years, it's now happening in three or four weeks."
The money approved by Las Cruces council members will come from the Telshor Fund, which was originally intended for healthcare purposes.
The measure will help fund programs through Families and Youth Inc., as well as boost the city's Utility Assistance and Essential Supply funds, and provide internet access for Las Cruces Public Schools for online learning.
Below is a document that breaks down the allocation of money which totals $1,072,500.