More than 78,000 Arkansans continue to file weekly unemployment claims and since the extra $600 from the Cares Act expired July 31, many are in need of extra help.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark — The weekly $600 unemployment bonus that many Arkansans relied on expired on July 31.
Now, thousands are looking for help.
According to Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston, more than 78,000 Arkansans continue to file weekly unemployment claims.
“Even though that $600 additional benefit went away from the federal government side, there are still the state unemployment benefits that individuals are receiving at this time, as well as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance,” he said.
Those funds, Preston said, can vary anywhere from $45 up to $450 depending on your wage rate. Other divisions within commerce are also still offering assistance to businesses.
“You’re able to get funds out through our Arkansas Ready for Business Grants, there’s some community development block grants and bridge loans,” he said.
Since March, the Salvation Army in Central Arkansas has seen a 160% increase in people needing help with rent and utilities.
The nonprofit still has their services available for both utility and rent aid in Saline County, but can only offer utility aid for Pulaski County.
According to Area Commander, Major Bill Mockabee, all it takes is one phone call with one of their social workers.
“Through that interview, they would identify what money they would be available for and what money we have available to them in order to best serve their needs,” he said.
Since this assistance is through federal and state funding, as well as local grants, Mockabee said aid varies by funding source.
“It may say that we can help an individual or family once every six months, but the different funding sources that we have have different kind of stipulations that go with them,” he said.
Another agency that can extend a helping hand is CAPCA, or Community Action Program for Central Arkansas.
Melissa Allen, CAPCA Community Programs Director, said there are 15 different action agencies across the state that offer different services.
“We have people who are coming to us for utility assistance, rental assistance, water bill assistance. It’s just anything you can imagine they’re needing help with,” she said.
The nonprofit serves low-income families, so eligibility is required for all of their programs, according to Allen.
You must physically go there to sign up, socially distanced, outside of their agency for their utility and water bill assistance programs.
“Depending on what their household income level is and how many people are in the house will determine what the benefit amount can be,” she said.
For rental assistance, you must call their office at 501-329-2667.
Allen said to visit your local agency’s website or Facebook page to stay updated on what is available.