HUD Moves to Make $1.7 Million of COVID-19 Relief Funds Available to USVI

Last April, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. met with HUD Secretary Ben Carson in Washington D.C.

President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act into law last Friday, providing much needed assistance to the American people as the country works diligently to combat COVID-19. Families and communities across the country will immediately feel the impact of this relief package as the federal government works to make these funds available.

After the President signed the CARES Act, Secretary Ben Carson directed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to immediately begin allocating $3.064 billion to help America’s low-income families and most vulnerable citizens. These funds will be awarded quickly by using existing grant formulas; they will also be accompanied by new guidance that cuts red tape so grantees can quickly help their communities.

“President Trump has said repeatedly that combating coronavirus will take a whole-of-government response, so we are glad to see Congress come together and join in our efforts to provide relief for the American people,” said Secretary Carson. “During this national emergency, HUD has taken quick action to help our country’s most vulnerable citizens and this additional support from Congress will help us continue to fulfill that mission.”

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HUD is making available $3.064 billion through its Community Development Block Grant, Emergency Solutions Grant, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS programs.

$2 Billion to Help States, Communities, and Non-profits:

U.S. Virgin Islands to receive $1,132,472 to:

Construct medical facilities for testing and treatment.

Acquire a motel or hotel building to expand capacity of hospitals to accommodate isolation of patients during recovery.

Replace HVAC systems to temporarily transform commercial buildings or closed school buildings into clinics or treatment centers.

Support businesses manufacturing medical supplies.

Construct a group living facility to centralize patients undergoing treatment.

Carry out job training of health care workers and technicians who are available to treat disease within a community.

These funds will be allocated under HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program. View specific state and grantee allocations here.

$1 Billion to Keep America’s Homeless Citizens Safe:

U.S Virgin Islands to receive $566,662 to:

Build more emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families.

Operate emergency shelters by providing maintenance, rent, repair, security, fuel, equipment, insurance, utilities, food, furnishings, and supplies necessary for the operation.

Provide Hotel/Motel Vouchers for homeless families or individuals.

Provide essential services to people experiencing homelessness including childcare, education services, outreach, employment assistance, outpatient health services, legal services, mental health services, substance abuse treatment services, and transportation.

Prevent individuals from becoming homeless and rapidly rehouse homeless individuals.

These funds will be allocated under HUD’s Emergency Solutions Grants program. View specific state and grantee allocations here.

$63.7 Million to Help Americans with Compromised Immune Systems:

Increase the level of safe, stable housing for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS and their household members, by providing rental and utility assistance and other short-term lodging assistance to address isolation and self-quarantine needs.

Ensure access to HIV medical care and treatment, chemical dependency treatment, and mental health treatment.

Provide persons with compromised immune systems with nutritional services and assistance with daily living.

Assist in job training and placement assistance.

HUD will award these funds under HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program. View specific state and grantee allocations here.

Cuts Red Tape to Allow for Targeting of COVID-19 Response:

The authority to provide housing assistance payments for rent, mortgage, utilities for up to 24 months.

The authority to use funds to self-isolate, quarantine, or provide other CDC-recommended infection control services for household members not living with HIV/AIDS.

The authority to use funds to provide relocation services (including lodging at hotels, motels or other locations) for persons living with HIV/AIDS and household members not living with HIV/AIDS.

Additional funds will follow this first tranche. The CARES Act allows HUD to broaden the reach of its existing grant programs for the remaining $9.136 billion in relief funding to meet our country’s unique needs during this time. To do this, new grant formulas must be written. HUD began writing new formulas immediately and will continue to work quickly to address communities’ needs and ensure these funds go to people and do not get delayed by bureaucratic red tape.

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