The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it will provide a new round of emergency relief funding for eligible low-income families and individuals living in public housing. The $472 million in funds, made available by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will be awarded to public housing authorities across the nation.
The funding can be used for a variety of pandemic-related reasons, including helping families assisted by Housing Choice vouchers and mainstream vouchers prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus.
The Housing Choice Voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly and people with disabilities to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market. The program is not limited to units in subsidized housing projects. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments, as long as it meets the requirements of the program.
“This funding will provide additional resources to public housing authorities to make sure people have a decent, safe and affordable place to call home,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in an official statement posted on the agency’s website. He added, “HUD continues to work with our public housing authorities to protect American families from this invisible enemy, including vulnerable residents in the Housing Choice Voucher program.”
U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker issued a joint press release today announcing that $18,740,222 in federal funding from HUD will be used to make sure public housing authorities across New Jersey have the resources needed to maintain a safe and healthy environment during the pandemic for all their residents. The funding, which is in addition to $15 million announced in May, was secured by the senators in the CARES Act.
“During this public health crisis and long after the battle is over, we must continue to ensure that all New Jersey families have access to a decent and affordable place to live,” said Booker. “Federal funding like this is needed now more than ever to help New Jersey’s public housing authorities best serve the people who rely on them for safe and stable housing.”
Menendez added, “If we are going to beat this pandemic, it’s essential that everyone has a reliable place to call home. We must continue investing in our federal housing programs so that every New Jerseyan has a roof over their heads.”
In May, HUD provided emergency relief funding for low-income families and individuals living in public housing. The $685 million in funds was awarded to public housing agencies across the country.
Eligible coronavirus-related activities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Procuring cleaning supplies and/or services to maintain safe and sanitary Housing Choice Voucher units, including common areas of public housing authority-owned project-based voucher projects.
- Relocation of participating families to health units or other designated units for testing, hospitalization, quarantine or transportation to those locations to limit the exposure that could be caused by using mass transportation.
- Additional costs to supportive services that vendors incurred due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Costs to retain or increase owner participation in the Housing Choice Voucher program, such as incentive or retention costs. For instance, the public housing authority offers owners an incentive payment to participate due to added difficulties of making units available for Housing Choice vouchers families to rent while stay-at-home orders or social distancing practices are in effect.
- Costs for providing child care for the children of public housing authority staff that would not have otherwise been incurred. For example, children who are at home due to school closings or staff members who are working outside of regular work schedules.
“These new funds are important and will go a long way to help low-income residents secure and retain affordable housing during this unprecedented time,” said Hunter Kurtz, assistant secretary for Public and Indian Housing.