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What You Need to Know About the Stimulus and Housing

27 March 2020

U.S. Congress Passes The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: Authorizing New Resources for Affordable Housing and Homelessness Assistance Programs

March 27, 2020

On March 27, 2020, the United States Congress passed The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748), also known as Stimulus 3.

This bipartisan coronavirus aid and economic relief agreement contains $330 billion in new funding to address the needs of the American people as we confront the coronavirus pandemic, including funding for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs. This funding is in addition to the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief fund that will provide aid to state, local, and tribal governments passed previously this month.

In addition to this Federal stimulus package, we expect the State of Connecticut to release a stimulus package as well in the coming weeks.

"We are very encouraged to see supports for homelessness, housing, and eviction prevention included in the federal stimulus package," said Partnership Executive Director Kiley Gosselin. "This funding is a great start, and we will continue to assess needs as this crisis develops. We would like to thank our many federal, state and local partners along with Connecticut's Congressional delegation for pushing for these much-needed resources. PSC and our partners look forward to working with Governor Lamont and other state and local officials to push these resources out to our service providers and families as quickly as possible."

Highlights Include:

HUD & Department Of Transportation:

The bill includes a total of $48.5 billion for transportation and housing activities. Targeted resources are directed to communities to help the 11 million low-income Americans living one paycheck away from homelessness by providing assistance to prevent eviction, to help the over half a million homeless individuals living on the streets find shelter or temporary housing, and for the most vulnerable, to self-quarantine and gain access to supportive services in order to diminish the risk of exposure. Highlights include:

  • Community Development Block Grant - $5 billion is provided for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to enable nearly 1,240 states, counties, and cities to rapidly respond to COVID-19 and the economic and housing impacts caused by it, including the expansion of community health facilities, childcare centers, food banks, and senior services.
  • Emergency Solutions Grants - $4 billion is included to assist individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and eviction prevention assistance. Eviction prevention activities including rapid rehousing, housing counseling, and rental deposit assistance will mitigate the adverse impacts of the pandemic on working families.
  • Rental Assistance Protections for Low-Income Americans - $3 billion is included for housing providers to help individuals currently assisted by HUD to safely remain in their homes or access temporary housing assistance in response to economic and housing disruptions caused by COVID-19. This funding will help low-income and working class Americans avoid evictions and minimize any impacts caused by loss of employment, and childcare, or other unforeseen circumstances related to COVID-19. This includes:
    • $1.935 billion to allow public housing agencies (PHAs) to keep over 3.2 million Section 8 voucher and public housing households stably housed;
    • $1 billion to allow the continuation of housing assistance contracts with private landlords for over 1.2 million Project-Based Section 8 households;
    • $65 million for housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities for rental assistance, service coordinators, and support services for the more than 114,000 affordable households for the elderly and over 30,000 affordable households for low-income persons with disabilities; and
    • $65 million for Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS in order to maintain rental assistance and expand operational and administrative flexibilities for housing and supportive service providers.

Department of Agriculture:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - The bill includes $15.5 billion in additional funding for SNAP to ensure all Americans, including seniors and children receive the food they need.
  • Child Nutrition Program - The bill includes $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs in order to ensure children receive meals while school is not in session.
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) - The bill provides $450 million for the TEFAP program, to support food banks.
  • Food and Drug Administration - The bill provides $80 million for the Food and Drug Administration to continue efforts related to shortages of critical medicines, enforcement work on counterfeit and misbranded products, emergency use authorizations and pre and post market work on medical countermeasures, therapies, vaccines, and research.

Department of Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies:

  • Support for Legal Services - $50 million is provided for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to meet civil legal aid needs for low-income Americans. This funding can help LSC clients facing job losses, eviction, domestic violence and consumer scams resulting from the coronavirus crisis.

Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies:

  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) - The bill includes $275 million for HRSA, including $90 million for Ryan White HIV/AIDS programs.
  • Department of Labor - The bill includes $360 million to invest in programs that provide training and supportive services for dislocated workers, seniors, migrant farmworkers, and homeless veterans. This also includes funding for DOL agencies to ensure new Paid Leave and UI benefits are implemented swiftly and effectively.
  • Community Services Block Grant - The bill includes $1 billion for CSBG to help communities address the consequences of increasing unemployment and economic disruption.
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) - The bill includes $900 million to help lower income households heat and cool their homes.
  • Family Violence Prevention Services - The bill provides $45 million to support families during this uncertain time, and to prevent and respond to family and domestic violence, including offering shelter and supportive services to those who need it.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - The bill provides $425 million for SAMHSA to increase access to mental health services in our communities through Community Behavioral Health Clinics, suicide prevention programs, and emergency response spending that can target support where it is most needed, such as outreach to those experiencing homelessness.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - including:
    • $1.5 billion to support States, locals, territories, and tribes in their efforts to conduct public health activities, including the purchase of personal protective equipment; laboratory testing to detect positive cases; and others.
    • $1.5 billion in flexible funding to support CDC's continuing efforts to contain and combat the virus, including support for laboratory testing, workforce training programs.
    • $300 million for the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund, which supports immediate response activities during outbreaks.
  • Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response - $127 billion for medical response efforts, including:
    • $100 billion for a new program to provide grants to hospitals, public entities, not-for-profit entities, and Medicare and Medicaid enrolled suppliers and institutional providers to cover unreimbursed health care related expenses or lost revenues attributable to the public health emergency resulting from the coronavirus.
    • More than $27 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus.
  • Department of Education - The bill includes $30.75 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund for states, school districts and institutions of higher education for costs related to coronavirus, including funding to provide online learning for all students, including students with disabilities, English language learners and homeless students. In addition, college students facing closed campuses and the transition to distance education are dealing with increased costs and challenges meeting basic needs like housing and food.
  • Governors in each state will receive a share of $3 billion to allocate at their discretion for emergency support grants to local educational agencies that the State educational agency deems have been most significantly impacted by coronavirus.

Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies

  • Vulnerable Veterans - $590 million for VA to devote to supporting veterans at an increased risk of contracting coronavirus. It includes funding for the Health Care for Homeless Veterans program, the Supportive Services for Veterans Families program, and the Grant and Per Diem program.
  • Expanded Authorities - The bill also includes provisions which allow VA to enhance health and housing initiatives for homeless veterans, including increased use of telehealth for programs with VA case managers, temporarily eliminating funding limits for programs providing direct support services to homeless veterans, and providing flexibility to veterans in these programs.

Financial Services And General Government:

  • Accountability - The bill provides $80 million to support a new Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to provide transparency to the public and coordinate oversight of funds provided in this legislation.

Department Of Homeland Security:

  • Disaster Relief Fund - $45 billion to provide for the immediate needs of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to protect citizens and help them recover from the overwhelming effects of COVID-19.
  • Emergency Food and Shelter Program - $200 million for shelter, food and supportive services to individuals and families in sudden economic crisis.

We anticipate at least one more stimulus package forthcoming. We will continue to do our best to provide legislative updates during this unprecedented time. Please reach out to info@pschousing.org with any questions.

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