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Ricketts: $200M available to help Nebraska renters affected by pandemic
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Ricketts: $200M available to help Nebraska renters affected by pandemic

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Eviction protest

Activists with the Lincoln Tenant/Housing Network went to the mayor's home recently, posted signs reading "Eviction = Death" and "No More Evictions" and blared air horns and chanted "shame on you," they said in a news release. 

Gov. Pete Ricketts held firm Monday to his decision to prioritize age in the allocation of COVID-19 vaccinations while turning a spotlight on pandemic-related federal rental assistance that is available to Nebraskans.

A federal emergency program will provide $200 million in assistance to help renters in Nebraska affected by the pandemic, with $158 million distributed by the state and the remainder by Lancaster and Douglas counties.

The assistance is available to pay for rent and utilities back to April of last year, with a limit of $20,000 per household and with payments made directly to landlords.

Only tenants earning less than 80% of the average median income are eligible to apply.

City Hall: Eviction protesters drum outside Lincoln mayor's house

A call center will be open at 833-500-8810 for those seeking assistance, and more information can be accessed at coronavirus.nebraska.gov

Meanwhile, Dr. Gary Anthone, the state's chief medical officer, said he supports the governor's decision to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations by age despite continuing criticism suggesting the need to prioritize Nebraskans under 65 with high-risk medical conditions.

"It's pretty glaring that age obviously is the No. 1 factor" in determining death as a result of contracting the virus, Anthone said in answer to a question at the governor's news briefing.

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"I agree with the priority" of administering the vaccine first to Nebraskans 65 and older, Anthone said.

Ricketts said he understands the frustration expressed by younger Nebraskans with co-morbidities as they await vaccination.

In addition to Nebraskans 65 and older, vaccinations are being administered now to people working in critical infrastructure, along with educators, grocery store employees and postal clerks.

Ricketts has noted that 97% of Nebraskans who have died from the virus are 50 and older and he remains determined to schedule vaccinations "based on risk."

In answer to a question, the governor said there will be information later on younger Nebraskans who may be at particularly high risk.

Shipments of vaccine to Nebraska that had been delayed by weather conditions should be "caught up" by the end of Monday, the governor said. 

Ricketts says he'll continue to prioritize vaccine for older Nebraskans
Cindy Lange-Kubick: Eviction — what happens when your home is gone?
'We thought we were living in pure bliss': Evictions continuing despite moratorium

IMAGES OF LINCOLN DURING THE PANDEMIC

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSdon

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