After a year of hard work, Senators Terrell McKinney and Justin Wayne said they were exhausted but proud to have passed their pandemic recovery plan. “It’s kind of surreal,” Wayne said. Wayne said the $336 million is primarily for economic development and job growth. But, the bill itself was designed to meet the needs of residents of North and South Omaha. “We wanted it to come from the community,” Wayne said. “We didn’t want a top-down approach.” The Holistic Development Center’s founder, Doris Moore, said her therapists have recently seen 50% more people in need of behavioral health services than before the pandemic. “People struggle all the time with issues of grief and loss, trauma, all those sorts of things that hit the community and we know communities of color in North and South Omaha are generally hit harder” , Moore said. This growing problem is why she plans to ask for some of those ARPA dollars to hire more therapists and move to a more visible location in North Omaha. “Behavioral health is an area that I think is totally underfunded,” Moore said. Tony Vargas and several other state senators on a special committee will work together to evaluate these proposals, like Moore’s. “It will be an aggressive and open process for proposals and qualified census tracts in North and South Omaha are eligible,” Vargas said. “And then there’s a minimum amount of money set aside in South Omaha and North Omaha are eligible to make sure no matter what we make investments on both sides.”

After a year of hard work, Senators Terrell McKinney and Justin Wayne said they were exhausted but proud to have completed their pandemic recovery plan.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Wayne said.

Wayne said the $336 million is primarily for economic development and job growth. But, the bill itself was designed to meet the needs of residents of North and South Omaha.

“We wanted it to come from the community,” Wayne said. “We didn’t want a top-down approach.”

Founder of Holistic Development Center Doris Moore said her therapists have recently seen 50% more people needing behavioral health services than before the pandemic.

“People struggle all the time with issues of grief and loss, trauma, all those sorts of things that hit the community and we know communities of color in North and South Omaha are generally hit harder” , Moore said.

This growing problem is why she plans to ask for some of those ARPA dollars to hire more therapists and move to a more visible location in North Omaha.

“Behavioral health is an area that I think is totally underfunded,” Moore said.

Sen. Tony Vargas and several other state senators on a special committee will work together to evaluate these proposals, like Moore’s.

“It will be an aggressive and open process for proposals and qualified census tracts in North and South Omaha are eligible,” Vargas said. “And then there’s a minimum amount of money set aside in South Omaha and North Omaha are eligible to make sure no matter what we make investments on both sides.”

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