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COVID-19 Housing & Homelessness Update 4/8/20

As the global pandemic continues and the situation evolves, the VAHC is following COVID-19 news with a special emphasis on housing, homelessness, and our low-income and vulnerable Vermonters. Please read the following important news updates.

Breaking News: Governor Scott opens the state to more funds that could help with the COVID-19 response by Submitting Request for Federal Disaster Declaration. More info.

General COVID-19 Resources

  1. For the most recent information about the pandemic in Vermont, visit the Department of Health webpage | Here is the last daily update from the Department of Health.

  2. Translated materials are available on the Vermont Health Website: www.healthvermont.gov/covid19*Scroll down to the Translated Materials part of the page*

  3. For a comprehensive list of resources about COVID-19 in Vermont, click here.

  4. VT Agency of Commerce & Community Development COVID-19 Recovery Resource Center

  5. VT Legislature Joint Fiscal Office COVID-19 Resource Documents

  6. U.S. Dep’t of Housing & Urban Development HUD COVID-19 Resources and Fact Sheets

  7. HUD Exchange COVID-19 Prevention and Response for Homeless Providers

  8. National Low Income Housing Coalition Disaster Recovery Housing Coalition COVID-19 Resources

  9. National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations COVID-19 Resources for Community Developers’

  10. Sen. Leahy’s Office: Housing Issues in the CARES Act, HR 748, 116th Congress (2020)

 

Resources from our national partners

 

U.S. Department of Housing & U

rban Development

HUD PIH Posts Updated “COVID-19 FAQs for Public Housing Agencies” HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) posted an updated “COVID-19 FAQs for Public Housing Agencies

HUD CPD Provides COVID-19 Waivers for CoC, ESG, and HOPWA Programs HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) distributed an undated Memorandum on April 1 outlining coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic-related program waivers for the Continuum of Care (CoC), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and Housing for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) programs.

HUD Announces CDBG, CDBG Recovery, HOME & ESG Funding Lat last week, HUD’s Office of Community Development and Planning announced the allocations for states for the Community Development Block Grant, HOME and Emergency Solutions Grant. The announcement included the FY 20 allocation and the CARES Act supplemental appropriations.

CARES Act Supplemental Allocations

  1. $2 billion in “regular use” CDBG using the regular FY 20 formula (out of the total $5 billion).  Most of the balance will be allocated according to two new formulas to be created by HUD reflecting coronavirus needs data. VT allocation = $4,256,840 | Burlington = $450,256

  2. $1 billion in “regular use” ESG using the regular FY 20 formula (out of $4 billion). Another $1 billion is also to be distributed using the “regular use” ESG FY20 formula, while the remaining balance will be allocated according to a new formula to be created by HUD reflecting homeless coronavirus needs data. 1st VT allocation = $2,334,607 ($4.67M total expected)

  3. $53.7 million in “regular use HOPWA using the regular FY 20 formula (out of $65 million expected) and another $10 million in competitive HOPWA grants. VT = 0

Regular FY 20 allocations for CDBG, HOME, ESG, and HOPWA.CDBGRHPHOMEESGHOPWAVermont$7,244,934$753,000$3,000,000$677,036$0Burlington$765,415$0$469,145$0$0

*RHP = Recovery Housing Program

From NLIHC: Emergency one-time payments to a provider for up to three months are CDBG-eligible as a public service income payment under 24 CFR 570.207(b)(4). This allows the use of CDBG for rental assistance for up to three consecutive months.The CARES Act waives the 15% cap on public services, not only for CARES Act CDBG, but also for FY 19 and FY 20 CDBG. Jurisdictions will have to avoid duplication of benefits because ESG can make the same payments in some cases. HUD is working on guidance related to CDBG.

 

The National Low Income Housing Coalition NLIHC released today an analysis, “The Need for Emergency Rental Assistance During the COVID-19 and Economic Crisis,” that shows Congress must invest up to $100 billion to keep the lowest-income households stably housed over the next year during and in the immediate wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NLIHC’s analysis shows that nearly 10 million extremely low- and very low-income renters were severely housing cost-burdened – spending more than half of their limited incomes on their housing – before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak and the economic havoc it wrought. Extrapolating from the country’s last recession, we estimate this number will increase by at least 1.5 million.

Additional NLIHC COVID-19 resources:

 

The National Alliance to End Homelessness

  1. Webinar from the National Alliance to End Homelessness:

  2. COVID-19 Webinar Series: Ensuring Racial Equity During the COVID-19 Homelessness Response Thursday, April 16 – 3:00 – 3:30 pm ET Chandra Crawford, Program and Policy Analyst

  3. Highlights from VCEH:

  4. Fact Sheet: Population At-Risk – Homelessness and the COVID-19 Crisis

  5. Report:  Estimated Emergency and Observational/Quarantine Bed Need for the US Homeless Population Related to COVID-19 Exposure by County; Projected Hospitalizations, Intensive Care Units and Mortality

  6. Resources: Coronavirus and Homelessness

  7. Homelessness & COVID-19: Considerations and Action Steps

  8. Community Survey: Protecting People Experiencing Homelessness from COVID-19

  9. Using Medicaid Waivers to Improve Access to Care for People Experiencing Homelessness During COVID-19

  10. Vermont Department of Health Guidance to Reduce Facility-Based Transmission of COVID19 in Congregate Care Settings

 

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

  1. “The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law last week, includes both important provisions to help the sharp economic decline already unfolding. But policymakers’ efforts should not end with this bill.”  Read more.

  2. New COVID-19 resource featuring all of our products analyzing Congressional and state actions responding to COVID-19, organized by: the economy, food assistance, health, housing, paid leave, state fiscal relief, TANF, and unemployment insurance.

 

Resources from our state partners

 

Fair Housing Fridays from the Fair Housing Project of CVOEO: Read the full press release. | More info on their website.


FAIR HOUSING FRIDAYS: A series of informational, interactive video sessions on Fair Housing issues in the context of COVID-19. The Zoom webinars will be held from 12:30-1:30pm, with recordings available for later viewing. Hear from local experts, with plenty of time for Q&A. To sign up, register online at www.fairhousingmonthvt.org/fair-housing-fridays.

The first Fair Housing Friday, State and Federal Housing Policy: What’s happening and how it affects you, will be this Friday at 12:30 p.m., featuring Erhard Mahnke of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition and Chris Donnelly of Champlain Housing Trust.

There will be two more Fair Housing Fridays:

  1. April 17: Tenants’ Rights and Renting during COVID-19

  2. April 24: Fair Housing during (and in the wake of) COVID-19

 

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development:

  1. For ACCD’s COVID-19 Recovery Resource Center, click here.

  2. Unemployment Insurance Town Halls The Vermont Department of Labor has added a Virtual Town Hall event on Wednesday, April 8 at 8:30amUnemployment Insurance 101 for Claimants. There will also be a Virtual Town Hall event on Thursday, April 9 at 2:00pm, topic: Employer Services and Rapid Response. A full schedule of the Department’s Virtual Town Hall events can be found at labor.vermont.gov/calendar.

  3. A working draft of the HUD Consolidated Plan has been posted to the ACCD website here.

  4. The submission due date to HUD has been postponed to August 15. This is intended to allow us to incorporate COVID-19 response allocations into this Plan prior to submission.

  5.  There are gaps in the Needs Assessment and Market Analysis sections due to uncertainties about post-COVID needs as well as resources being redirected from ConPlan drafting to other response efforts.

  6. The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development will host a virtual public hearing on April 13, 2020 from 3:00pm – 4:00pm to gather comments on the COVID-19 recovery needs of communities, and how federal Community Development Block Grants may help respond to those needs. Register here.

 

Department of Disabilities, Aging & Independent Living

DAIL COVID-19 Guidance

 

The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board

Potential Sources of Assistance to Non-Profits for COVID-19 Impact and Response CARES Act (3rd Federal COVID-19 Response Bill) The CARES Act funds three programs through the Small Business Administration.  See this excellent guide posted by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

  1. The Emergency Economic Injury Grant program is for small companies or non-profits that just need a short-term cash injection while applying for an SBA loan.

  2. The Paycheck Protection Program is for money to cover the cost of keeping employees during the economic downturn.  Non-profits are also eligible.

  3. There is a debt relief program for businesses struggling to make payments on a current Small Business Administration loan.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) appears to the most beneficial to non-profits.  It will provide interest- and tax-free loans for nps that maintain their payroll during the emergency. Payments on the loans can be deferred for one year. If the employer keeps its workers for a period of 8 weeks (between Feb 15 and June 30, 2020) the loans would be forgiven. It appears to be possible to be strategic about which 8 weeks are chosen.  The loan acts more like a grant if staff and payroll are retained. The np must have been “economically harmed” by the pandemic. The max loan is 2.5 times monthly payroll up to $10 million.  If a business or non-profit is forced to lay off employees during 8-week period, the loan will be reduced proportionally. Eligible entities apply through their SBA approved lender.  PPP guidance to lenders is expected from the U.S. Treasury Department by April 11. There is a total cap on the funding for the program so consider applying as soon as possible.

Info from the SBA on all 3 of the programs listed above can be found here and a sample PPP application form is here.

ACCD has posted a CARES FAQ with much more detailed information on other provisions including unemployment benefits, family and sick leave benefits that must be offered by employers and eviction moratoriums. Also of potential interest to non-profits are payroll tax credits for which nps are eligible if they do not use the PPP.

FEMA Public Assistance Private non-profits may be eligible for assistance through FEMA’s Public Assistance program for direct expenditures related to COVID-19 critical emergency response measures.  The program is administered by Vermont Emergency Management which has information posted here.  The program provides a 75% federal match and can be used for a range of services but not shelter. While private non-profits in Vermont may be incurring some expenses eligible for reimbursement, FEMA programs are generally difficult to access due to their complexity, eligibility and timing.  The details of what is eligible can be found in FEMA’s Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide. For an overview as it relates to housing, see the National Low Income Housing Council’s Fact Sheet.

Note:  Most federal emergency aid programs have, in the past, prohibited the “duplication of benefits” meaning an entity cannot receive funding from multiple sources (fed, state, philanthropic) for the same need or in an amount that exceeds the entities documented need. It’s not yet clear how this will apply to the CARES Act or other COVID-19 programs but suggests documenting all expenses as thoroughly as possible and weighing the pros and cons of various sources of state or federal assistance before committing.

 

The Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness VT COVID-19 Homeless Response Call Monday’s Webinar has been changed to Thursday, April 9th, 2020 at 3:30pm If you have not registered for it yet you can do so Here.

If you missed the previous calls they are now available for viewing. Also available on the www.Helpingtohousevt.org website.

COVID-19 Supplemental HOP funding application This round of supplemental funding is focused exclusively on meeting the immediate increased emergency shelter and service needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. During the Thursday April 9th, 2020 COVID-19 Homeless Providers Response Call there will be a Q&A for this Application. If you have not already registered for the webinar series you can do so here: Register for COVID-19 Homeless Provider Response Calls

Applications are due on a rolling basis, but no later than 4:00 PM, May 29, 2020

Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Recovery Services are a Single Call Away Health Department Launches VTHelplink Referral Resource Read the press release from the Department of Health.

Governor Scott Calls on Vermonters to Support COVID-19 Response Read the press release.

From the National Alliance to End Homelessness Blog  

View the full COVID-19 SNAPS resource digest on the HUD Exchange for a comprehensive list of websites and resources.

 

Update from the WNOC-RRCC (Washington and Northern Orange Counties Regional Response Command Center) Read the full update. | Read their latest community newsletter.

  1. Our Call Center is Now Operating & Ready to Assist!

  2. Call line: 802-477-5160

  3. Text line: 802-477-5130

  4. Hours of Operation: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM, 7-days a week.

  5. We are now accepting Emergency Goods & Supplies that will be distributed to individuals and community efforts in need.

  6. WNOC-RRCC is hiring administrative support for the Planning Section. The position is full time and if anyone is able to re-deploy a staff member to this effort, that would be ideal, and greatly appreciated. If you have anyone in mind, or any questions about the position, please email phil.cecchini@wnocrrcc.org.

  7. We’re now on social media. Follow us for daily updates & information!

  8. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WNOCRRCC/

  9. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wnoc.rrcc/

  10. Twitter: https://twitter.com/WnocRrcc

  11. Weekly 30-minute Update Calls Every Friday

  12. There will be a weekly public conference call on Fridays to give a situational update on what WNOC-RRCC has been up to in the past week, what needs we see developing in the coming week(s), and to share relevant local and state information.

  13. These events are open and free to the public.

  14. To participate, please use the following event details:

  15. To join by computer, click here: https://zoom.us/j/700036751

  16. To join by phone, dial: (929) 205-6099, Webinar ID 700-036-751

 

Other Partner Updates:

  1. VHFA is accepting applications for Bond Credits, construction loans, and state housing tax credits. State housing credit applications are due April 17th. For questions: developmentdept@vhfa.org.

  2. VHFA COVID resources for renters, homeowners, new homebuyers, developers, property managers & owners: click here.

  3. Amidst the response to COVID-19, Groundworks Collaborative invites supporters to fundraise by camping-in-place on May 1. Read more.

  4. Champlain Housing Trust’s updated response to COVID-19

  5. Vermont Legal Aid’s COVID-19 resources: Legal and Benefits Updates for Vermonters

  6. Hunger Free VT has a new Coronavirus & food access webpage. Here.

  7. USDA RD Housing Obligations Reports through March FY 2020 from HAC: Information and a state-by-state breakdown

  8. CVOEO is hiring for the Chittenden County COVID Recovery Center: We need people who are level headed, have common sense, a sense of humor and are reliable. About 12 more people. One person to live on site. And six more people to work full or part time at night. Five more people during the day to work at intake and admission and to be on the floors. Social work students or medical students, especially graduate students, would be excellent. Positions pay from $35 – $ 40 an hour. Contact Jan Demers: jdemers@cvoeo.org.

 

News Updates from VT Digger:

 


Prep Underway for COVID-19Recovery Center for Homeless


Two prominent Burlingtonians will manage a new Chittenden County healing center for homeless people and other vulnerable Vermonters with the coronavirus… Read more

Burlington Resident’s Zoom Meeting Meme Goes Viral

Zoom is taking over our lives. For Americans stuck at home social distancing, the video platform has become ubiquitous as a tool for work, school, after-hours socializing and even health services… Read more

 

Good news from the field – VT responds to the crisis:

  1. Pathways Vermont’s Housing First team housed 22 Vermonters in the month of March! This means 22 people are now safely in their own homes. Read the full press release.


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Please visit our new Housing & Homelessness Alliance of Vermont website at www.hhav.org!

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