CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Sen. Tim Kaine is making his way across Hampton Roads this week holding events to discuss the economy, military, housing, gun violence and education.
His first stop Monday was to ForKids in Chesapeake, where he met with a group of kids and then privately met with several women who were recently homeless in Hampton Roads. He also toured the Regional Housing Crisis Hotline.
“There’s such need, there’s a lot of challenging stories, but a lot of the challenges got worse during COVID – people losing jobs, people getting sick ,” Kaine told WAVY after his visit.
If the senator has his way, ForKids will be getting a big check to support afterschool programming for elementary school students who are falling behind in school. The funding request passed the Senate Appropriations Committee, but the full Senate and House of Representatives have yet to vote.
ForKids CEO Thaler McCormick is hopeful.
“When you look at the US budget, $170,000 isn’t necessarily going to make or break that deal,” McCormick said, “but it will make or break what’s happening here at ForKids.”
The senator also visited Chesapeake Regional Healthcare to celebrate the $1 million in federal funds that passed last year to help the hospital build a new psychiatric unit.
“What we saw pre-COVID, we didn’t have enough mental health services, pre-COVID, then it got so much worse during COVID that we really are falling behind,” Kaine said.
Chesapeake, the second most populous city in the state, currently has no licensed behavioral health unit. The hospital has plans for a psychiatric unit with 20 beds so patients can receive treatment closer to home. There currently is no timeline on when that unit will open as the hospital is working to secure more funding.
Kaine also met with the Hampton Roads Chamber Monday to discuss the regional economy.
Tuesday, he and Rep. Bobby Scott will tour a military housing complex and hold a roundtable on military housing with military families.