Cooper provides more COVID relief, but he needs help from Washington and the legislature

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (pictured at left) announced a new package of $175 million in aid to struggling North Carolina families today.

As Cooper’s announcement explained, the money is earmarked to fund three initiatives designed to help people remain in their homes:

Eviction Prevention and Utility Payments: Approximately $94 million of the funding will be disbursed by the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) to support rental and utility payments and prevent evictions for those with a demonstrated need. The funding will be distributed to eligible community agencies around the state that will work directly with North Carolinians on an application and disbursement process. The fund includes $28 million from federal Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funding and the remaining $66 million from CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) money.

Crisis Response and Housing Stability: About $53 million of the funding is designated for the Emergency Solutions Grant-Coronavirus (ESG-CV) Program through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). The federal ESG-CV money is intended for families experiencing homelessness or who face a more immediate risk of homelessness and will be distributed by similar community agencies handling NCORR’s program. This innovative model will help streamline the process for families. Once a person applies, local community agencies will determine which program they are eligible for and then complete the application quickly.

…Information about how people can apply for the NCORR program and the ESG-GV program will be shared once the programs have launched in the coming weeks….

Local Government Funds: Another $28 million of federal funding will be administered by local governments through the North Carolina Department of Commerce. This money also comes from the federal CDBG-CV program and will be administered by incorporated municipalities under 50,000 residents and counties under 200,000 residents that apply to participate. Local governments are encouraged to prioritize the money locally to help their residents pay rent and outstanding utility bills. In addition, the funds may provide support for internet access, food distribution, COVID-19 testing and diagnosis and employment training for health care workers.

The application process for local governments to apply for the Commerce-administered funding has opened. Eligible local governments who would like to apply for the Commerce CDBG-CV program can click here to learn more.”

Of course, as timely and welcome as Cooper’s action is, it’s still far short of the kind and quantity of aid that is desperately needed. The only potential sources of the truly plentiful aid that millions of struggling North Carolinians need are, of course, under the control of the Trump administration and the U.S. Senate — both of which have thus far said a resounding “no” to a package containing adequate aid — and the North Carolina General Assembly, whose Republican leaders have thus far followed Trump’s cruel and destructive lead.

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