Stafford, Virginia, a small town about 35 miles east of Washington, D.C., has become the next big test of the Trump administration’s new “Make America Great Again” slogan.
A record number of Americans are now eligible for car loans, and the state is looking to be the first in the nation to fully take on the responsibility of helping Americans who don’t have a home or car.
Stafford’s population is more than 4,000 and has an unemployment rate well above the national average of 4.5 percent.
But many of those people are young and unskilled.
About 70 percent of the city’s population of about 4,500 people is under 25, according to data from the Department of Labor.
The average age is 34.
Many of those younger than 25 have had trouble finding a job, according with the U.S. Census Bureau.
And the state has struggled with the recession.
But with unemployment low, and with the federal government providing millions in tax breaks and loans to help those who don´t have jobs, the city was hoping for some help.
Staffords main employer, the University of Virginia, has offered loans and grants for some of the state´s poorest residents, including a car purchase for $250.
The program, called Stafford loans, has not yet taken effect in Staffords case.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has also opened an office to help assist.
But the federal Department of Education has not given grants to help people buy homes in Stafford loans.
The Obama administration also created a program to help unemployed Americans afford their cars, and it also gave loan guarantees for low-income families to buy homes.
But HUD said it would not take on a Stafford loan in Stafford until the state took over the responsibilities of lending to those without a home.
HUD spokeswoman Katie Hickey said the department was waiting for a full review of the program and the states financial responsibility in Stafford.
Stafferson is part of a cluster of communities in Stafford that are now in the crosshairs of the White House.
Staffs unemployment rate is just over 12 percent, well above Virginia´s overall unemployment rate of 4 percent.
The city is just miles from where President Donald Trump, a Republican, won the state in 2016.
But staffords unemployment rate also is significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, about 8.6 percent, and lower than the statewide average of 9.3 percent.
Staffed workers make up a quarter of the workforce in Staffed Stafford.
The area of the county that is home to the university, where the graduates work, is a diverse mix of students, retirees and people with disabilities.
Staffing jobs are often in industries that are struggling.
The university’s administration has said it has been struggling to attract workers in recent years.
“We have been struggling for a number of years,” said Mary Beth Jones, vice chancellor for academic affairs.
The unemployment rate in Staffs city is 7.3.
Some people have been able to get loans through the federal job-creation program.
But others are struggling to find them because they can’t afford to pay the interest on the loans.
For instance, on the same day the program started, Stafford loan guarantees were waived for a group of Stafford students.
Jones said the program was designed to provide a pathway to homeownership for low and moderate income families.
Staffings unemployment rate was 3.6.
The state Department of Finance said it is also looking at the potential of taking over the responsibility for car payments and helping low- and moderate-income Americans to buy their own cars.
But some in the community are frustrated that it hasn´t been done.
“It´s just going to make the situation worse, because we need the government to help the people that are out there,” said resident James Moore.
“They have no choice but to pay their own car payments.”
Stafford Councilman David Moore said he had hoped the administration would do a better job helping the local economy and that the state would take over the loan process.
But he said he has been unable to see any progress.
Staffy staff, who were in attendance, said they were worried about the state of the economy.
“You are not supposed to have a government program that is supposed to help us, you are supposed to just take the money and let the banks do it,” Staffy Staff Member said.
“I think we are going to have to fight and fight and we have to go to the courts and fight to keep this going.”
The administration has been in contact with the staff of the federal agency that administers the Stafford loan program, HUD.
HUD said in a statement that it is looking into the matter.
The Trump administration has also been talking to the staffs Department of Transportation about providing assistance.
But it has not made any decisions.