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Ripple Effect of Stimulus Funds in VA

May 24, 2010

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. - Creating jobs, helping small businesses and keeping families in their homes - those are just a few of the ways that federal economic stimulus funds have aided communities in Virginia, according to Jon Morris. He's executive director for STEP, Inc., a community action agency in Franklin and Patrick counties. The group has issued a new report tracking the stimulus money it received that shows an unexpected boost for countless others during the recession.

In addition to creating 34 jobs within his agency, Morris says they were able to expand programs, creating a ripple effect in the communities they serve.

"Just last year, we spent well over a half-million dollars just in subcontractors. Most of that was through our weatherization program. That's a significant amount of money for our local HVAC companies, our roofers, our electrical companies."

In 2009, Morris says his agency pumped more than $1 million into Virginia's economy by hiring local businesses for construction and renovation jobs, as well as purchasing local products.

In addition, Morris says his group was able to share funds with some nonprofit groups in the area hit especially hard by the recession.

"We were able to award $50,000 dollars to a local organization here called Helping Hands. We awarded $25,000 dollars to the Stepping Stones Ministry, which operates a soup kitchen."

In all, Step, Inc. awarded more than $111,000 dollars to local nonprofits, according to Morris.

The report, "IMPACT 2010: How STEP's unique programs do more than help those in need," is available online at www.stepincva.com.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - VA