You can apply to get coronavirus relief money from Cardi B now

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Cardi B announced Wednesday night she’s teaming up with Fashion Nova to put money in the hands of people who need it during the coronavirus shutdown. Starting today, April 8, they’re giving away $1,000 an hour till May 20, for a total of $1 million in pandemic disaster relief.

In an Instagram video announcing her relief initiative, Cardi B said she'd "been getting a lot of DMs from people in need." So she teamed up with Fashion Nova to get money in the hands of fans who could use it most. "You know how sometimes you give to charity and you're like, 'Hmm, is it really going to the people?' Well we're making sure it's going to the people," Cardi B added.

"People are struggling to pay rent, buy food, medicine and other essentials for themselves and their families," Richard Saghian, founder and CEO of Fashion Nova, told TMZ. "We all feel compassion and concern for those affected by the coronavirus."

Some Americans should start receiving stimulus checks from the government by mid-April, but $1,200 — the amount most taxpayers will get — isn’t enough to make ends meet for long in many metropolises. Meanwhile a staggering 16 million people filed unemployment claims in the last three weeks, meaning 10% of America’s workforce is out of work. And in the face of so many people seeking assistance at once, and lots of their own workers likely out sick, big city bureaucracies are overwhelmed.

Enter the celebrity philanthropist. When Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Cardi B are willing to Venmo out-of-work fans $1,000 after a social media exchange, it’s like a more straightforward — and in a weird way, more attainable — alternative to public assistance. That’s not an ideal way to run a society, for so many reasons, but I guess it works, in a pinch?

A lot of people are working hard to make sure humanity pulls through the pandemic with minimal damage. COVID-19 certainly isn’t affecting people equally… Which is why stories like this one, about one person or a small group of people stepping up to help out when institutions fail, can be so moving. At this moment, Cardi B seems more engaged with helping those in need than the actual organizations tasked with social welfare. We commend her for that. But it’s also symptomatic of bigger problems in America.