Richmond County to get share of more than $140M in federal housing aid coming to Georgia

A for rent sign sits in a yard in Dubuque. (Allison Wong, KCRG-TV9)
A for rent sign sits in a yard in Dubuque. (Allison Wong, KCRG-TV9)(KCRG)
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 4:28 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta/Richmond County will get a $3.5 million share of more than $140 million in federal grants coming to Georgia to address affordable housing needs.

The funding — announced Thursday by the state’s Democratic senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff — comes from the $5 billion HOME Investment Partnerships Program provision of the American Rescue Act.

The grants will be used to help Georgians with low incomes rehabilitate owner-occupied housing, provide assistance to low-income homebuyers, construct affordable rental housing, expand tenant-based rental help and provide additional support to those experiencing eviction and homelessness.

The American Rescue Plan provides more than $30 billion to help low-income households pay their rent and to assist the homeless. States and tribes would receive an additional $10 billion for homeowners who are struggling with mortgage payments and other housing costs because of the pandemic.

Other highlights of the coronavirus aid legislation include:

  • Expanded unemployment benefits from the federal government extended through Sept. 6 at $300 a week. That’s on top of what beneficiaries are getting through their state unemployment insurance program.
  • A direct payment of $1,400 for a single taxpayer, or $2,800 for a married couple that files jointly, plus $1,400 per dependent. Individuals earning up to $75,000 would get the full amount, as would married couples with incomes up to $150,000.
  • $350 billion to state and local governments and tribal governments for costs incurred up until the end of 2024. The bill also requires that small states get at least the amount they received under coronavirus legislation that Congress passed last March.
  • About $130 billion in additional help to schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The money would be used to reduce class sizes and modify classrooms to enhance social distancing, install ventilation systems and purchase personal protective equipment. The money could also be used to hire more nurses, counselors and janitors, and to provide summer school.
  • About $39 billion for child care through an emergency fund to help child care providers pay for staffing, rent and supplies, and through a block grant program that subsidizes the cost of child care for low-income families.
  • A new program for restaurants and bars hurt by the pandemic would receive $28.6 billion. The grants provide up to $10 million per company with a limit of $5 million per physical location. The grants can be used to cover payroll, rent, utilities and other operational expenses.
  • About $50 billion to expand testing for COVID-19 and to enhance contract tracing capabilities with new investments to expand laboratory capacity and set up mobile testing units. Also more than $15 billion to speed up the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines across the country and $1 billion to boost vaccine confidence.
  • Parts of the legislation advance longstanding Democratic priorities like increasing coverage under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. Financial assistance for ACA premiums would become considerably more generous and a greater number of solid middle-class households would qualify.
  • An increase in tax breaks to $3,000 for every child age 6 to 17 and $3,600 for every child under the age of 6.

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