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State Grant Helps Mercer County Residents Survive COVID

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Mercer County Better Together

Thanks to a state grant, help was available for residents of Mercer County to survive the pandemic. Illinois' Pandemic Health Navigator Program ended in the county last month.

Kyle McEwen, Executive Director of the group Mercer County Better Together, says the 150,000 dollar grant was used to provide a variety of assistance to more than 80 families.

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"I want to make it clear this program was never about a "handout." It was always about a stopgap for people in need so that they could get access to the short-term resources necessary to then return to self-sustainability."

Assistance made possible by the Navigator program included delivering food and drugs, transportation to doctors and other appointments, and help finding jobs.

McEwan says they also helped people behind on their utility bills.

"As a navigator, a navigating program, we were able to make those calls for the client, and / or with the client, looping them in on the call and being an advocate for them and helping to try to come to a common ground where let's put together a payment plan where you can pay this.

Working together with other agencies in Mercer County, he hopes they'll be able to find a way to continue these valuable services.