Center for Community Action (CCA) received good news Friday as is was one of many county agencies that will receive nearly $19 million in funding to aid homeless families and individuals impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), Gov. Tom Wolf’s office announced they awarded the first of two allocations for the Emergency Solutions Grant CARES Act (ESG-CV) funding provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act supplemental appropriation.
CCA will receive $312,700 in funds to help with homeless assistance for those impacted by the pandemic for Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, Mifflin and Juniata counties.
As part of The CARES Act, this is one of two allocations of homeless assistance funds to prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or receiving homeless assistance and to support additional homeless assistance and homelessness prevention activities to mitigate the impacts created by coronavirus.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, 64% of funds awarded are targeted to address homelessness prevention, 22% of the funds are targeted to rapidly house those who are homeless and 8.4% of funds are targeted to provide emergency shelter services and street outreach.
“This is going to be based on need,” said Wendy Melius, CCA executive director, adding that they’ve also partnered with a homeless shelter in Lewistown as well as domestic violence shelters to help those who are homeless and are in need of immediate assistance.
“To try to reduce the number of people coming in and going to congregate settings, we’ve been putting them in hotel rooms,” said Melius. “We didn’t want them in a congregate living setting, not knowing what could happen. But, we have this funding available for hotels if someone is truly homeless.”
But, Melius said they will have case managers available if someone who is homeless needs assistance of any kind, as they do have other programs available that will help them.
“Our case managers do triage to see what the true need is,” she said. “We match them up with the right program, whether it’s through the regular Emergency Services Grant or through the CARES Act or through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. We match the need with the use of funds that best fits their needs.”
The Emergency Services Grant that’s not affiliated with the CARES Act is long-term funding that will help to support those who need it, but the CARES Act Emergency Services Grant has a short time line in which money can be spent.
“I believe this has to be spent by the end of the year,” said Melius.
This is in line with other emergency fund sources through the CARES Act that CCA is currently dealing with, as they’re also helping those who need rental assistance through the CARES Act from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA)
For this program, those who qualify include those currently receiving unemployment due to COVID-19 and those who have had a 30% or more loss of income due to COVID-19.
This program would be for up to six months of rental assistance up to $750 per month, but it would be capped off at a total of $4,500.