HUD grant to help homeless affected by COVID-19

WILMINGTON — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will allocate $4,252,826 in Emergency Solutions Grants funding to Delaware to support homeless Delawareans and individuals at risk of becoming homeless because of hardships such as job loss, wage reduction or illness due to COVID-19, announced Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Joe DeFelice on Wednesday.

The agency awarded $2.96 billion in funding nationwide. This funding is in addition to $1 billion of ESG grants announced within a week of President Donald Trump signing the CARES Act.

“Throughout the First State, there has been some great work underway to help those who need it most — the homeless,” Mr. DeFelice said in a press release. “The Delaware State Housing Authority and Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, in partnership with other State and local partners, are helping individuals experiencing homelessness secure housing in hotels to reduce their risks to COVID-19 and to connect them with much needed resources. DSHA recently announced plans to use ESG funding to help rapidly rehouse families in hotel placements into permanent housing. These are community-led efforts of which all involved can be proud.”

In Delaware, the more than $4.2 million in funding will be allocated as follows — $1,142,202 to Wilmington, $1,582,960 to New Castle County and $1,527,664 to the state.

Congress has provided $4 billion for HUD’s ESG program for local governments to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless, receiving homeless assistance or are at risk of becoming homeless. In total, HUD has allocated $3.96 billion in ESG funding to impacted communities in every U.S. State and territory, and the remainder $40 million is being utilized to provide technical assistance to build capacity of grantees in those communities receiving ESG funding.

Nationally the funding can be used to make more emergency shelters available for the homeless, provide hotel/motel vouchers, prevent individuals from becoming homeless and rapidly rehouse homeless individuals. It can also help operate emergency shelters by providing food, rent, security, maintenance, repair, fuel, equipment, insurance, utilities, furnishings and supplies necessary for operation.

Finally the funding can provide essential services to people experiencing homelessness including childcare, education services, employment assistance, outpatient health services, legal services, mental health services, substance abuse treatment services and transportation.

“Homelessness was a major issue in some cities across our nation long before this pandemic occurred, and unfortunately the dire living conditions of our most vulnerable Americans left many without a home to isolate in or proper medical and healthcare resources to defend themselves against this invisible enemy,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “As we continued to monitor the effects of COVID-19 in at risk communities, the Department and our partners worked quickly to respond to outbreaks and minimize the spread from hotspots to other locations. This increased funding to help provide for our homeless will make a difference now as we combat the coronavirus and inform long-term, innovative solutions for addressing homelessness in the future.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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