SHAMEFUL: 319 Residents Lose Direct Assistance Program “Lottery” Even as Iowa City Refunded More than Half a Million Dollars
Less than $2.7 million out of the $3.25 million allocated for the direct assistance program was actually spent on stimulus checks to negatively impacted residents
Johnson County and Iowa City, IA --
Escucha Mi Voz members and Iowa City Catholic Workers loudly condemned county and city leaders today after it was announced that more than 300 eligible Johnson County residents lost the “lottery” for the Direct Assistance Program, even as Iowa City is set to be refunded hundreds of thousands of unspent dollars.
1,919 residents were awarded a $1,400 stimulus check, accounting for only $2,686,600 of the nearly $3.3 million originally allocated to the direct assistance program. Less administrative fees, the remaining balance of hundreds of thousands of dollars was refunded to the city of Iowa City even as hundreds of eligible city and county residents were denied a potentially life-saving stimulus check.
“I don’t understand why I and 300 others lost the lottery if Iowa City has so much money left over,” said Cristian Pinto Garcia, an immigrant worker and Iowa City resident who applied for the direct assistance program but lost the lottery. "They should use that leftover money to give all of us a stimulus check like they promised."
“They need to go back to the pool and spend it all,” said Sherri Erkel, an Iowa City resident, Catholic Worker, and St. Patrick Church parishioner.
“That’s messed up, that’s not fair,” said Eric Harris, an essential worker and Iowa City Truth and Reconciliation Commission member who applied for and won the lottery. “Something needs to be done to fix this.”
“We demand justice for everyone who won't get a check in the first round of direct assistance payments,” said excluded worker Ninoska Campos. “Iowa City was refunded enough money to give a stimulus check to every person who lost the lottery and they need to do a second round of checks immediately.”