Minority affairs workplace kicks off listening tour on COVID reduction cash

WELLSBURG, W. Va. – The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA) starts in Brooke County on Wednesday evening 16-month nationwide audio tour to hear what communities need and how the state’s $ 1.6 billion pandemic aid can help.

HHOMA officials will be at the Wellsburg Volunteer Fire Department in Wellsburg at 6:30 p.m. to check the American Rescue Plan Act of Assignments 2021.

Jill Upson, the executive director of HHOMA, told MetroNews that this will be a real listening tour with no management speeches planned. She said she would then take everything she heard to Governor Jim Justice’s office.

Jill Upson

She said she had already met with Wellsburg Mayor Dan Duley on topics that have come up during the pandemic.

“They will tell me which areas are hardest hit by the pandemic, they will tell me what are the greatest needs in their community,” said Upson.

The tour will visit all 55 counties from this week through December 2022. HHOMA stated that the HHOMA team will meet with local community leaders at each stop, followed by public forums where all community members will be invited to receive information and share their ideas.

Topics for discussion include: pandemic challenges, targeting the greatest need, making impact, sustainability and pooling resources.

“Everyone is invited to groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the general public by the elected local leaders. Just so we could give as much information back to the governor as possible for his final recommendations, ”Upson said.

Upson said the state had until December 2024 to spend the incoming funds. Therefore, the schedule is stretched to get the assignments right and to be transparent.

On Thursday, the tour ends at 6:00 p.m. at the Weirton Millsop Community Center in Hancock County. Next week, the tour will take place on Wednesday, August 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Laughlin Memorial Chapel in Wheeling and on Thursday, August 19 at the VFW Mound Post in Moundsville at 6:30 p.m. Upson plans on every stop to be.

The rest of the 2021 schedule includes Wetzel 6-10 September, Monongalia 20.-24. September, Marion 27.-Oct. 1. Taylor and Preston 4-8 October, Barbour and Tucker 18-22 October, Jefferson and Berkeley 1-5 November, Morgan 9-12 November, mineral 1.-3. December 13-17, Hampshire December.

Specific dates and locations will be published on the HHOMA website.

“This is a one-time funding that will not be continued. We want to make sure we are doing things carefully and gathering as much information as possible from the public, ”said Upson.