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Atlanta officials direct millions of COVID-19 relief funds toward helping homeless, preventing evictions

Sean Keenan
Coronavirus COVID-19 virus

By Sean Keenan

Nearly $90 million is bound for the City of Atlanta’s coffers to help officials combat the public health and economic side effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, the Atlanta City Council approved legislation that lays out how $88.4 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act funding will be divvied up, and a hefty portion will go toward helping the homeless and preventing others from losing their homes.

As eviction filings continue to pile up in courts, which have largely curbed non-essential operations in response to the public health crisis, housing experts worry that a “tsunami” of evictions could hit metro Atlanta as soon as next month.

To help combat the expected wave of displacement, city officials are allocating $22 million to “expenditures related to consumer grant program to prevent eviction and assist in preventing homelessness,” according to the legislation passed Monday.

Additionally, another $7 million of the $88.4 million would pay for “expenses for care for homeless populations provided to mitigate COVID-19 effects and enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions.”

The legislation also earmarks cash for supportive services like food delivery for residents, such as senior citizens “and other vulnerable populations,” for medical expenses and for payroll expenses for healthcare professionals and other essential workers.

In other coronavirus-related news, between May 31 and June 6, Fulton County saw 315 new cases crop up, according to data compiled by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

That number represents a 39.7-percent decline in the number of new cases, down from the 522 the county discovered between May 24 and May 30.

The full breakdown, according to Atlanta City Council materials, is as follows:

Category and Subcategory Allocations
Actions to Facilitate Compliance with COVID-19-Related Public Health Measures $14,750,000
Expenses for care for homeless populations provided to mitigate COVID-19 effects and enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions. $7,000,000
Expenses to improve telework capabilities for public employees to enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions. $3,750,000
Expenses for food delivery to residents, including, for example, senior citizens and other vulnerable populations, to enable compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions. $2,500,000
Expenses to facilitate distance learning, including technological improvements, in connection with school closings to enable compliance with COVID-19 precautions. $500,000
Cost related to compliance with public health measures / protocols within public facilities $1,000,000
Medical Expenses $8,000,000
Costs of providing COVID-19 testing, including serological testing, and tracing. $8,000,000
Payroll Expenses $13,184,611
Payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services, and similar employees whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency. $13,184,611
Provision of Economic Support $44,000,000.00
Expenditures related to consumer grant program to prevent eviction and assist in preventing homelessness $22,000,000
Expenditures related to the provision of grants to small businesses to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures. $22,000,000
Public Health Expenses $4,500,000
Expenses for acquisition and distribution of medical and protective supplies, including sanitizing products and personal protective equipment, for medical personnel, police officers, social workers, child protection services, and child welfare officers, direct service providers for older adults and individuals with disabilities in community settings, and other public health or safety workers in connection with the COVID-19 public health emergency. $3,000,000
Expenses for communication and enforcement by State, territorial, local, and Tribal governments of public health orders related to COVID-19. $1,000,000
Expenses for technical assistance to local authorities or other entities on mitigation of COVID-19-related threats to public health and safety. $300,000
Expenses for disinfection of public areas and other facilities, e.g., nursing homes, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. $200,000
Other $4,000,000
Any other COVID-19-related expenses reasonably necessary to the function of government that satisfy the Fund’s eligibility criteria. (FEMA Matching Funds, Legal and Consulting Services Supporting the Administration of COVID-19 Related Funding) $4,000,000
Grand Total $88,434,611.30

(Header image, via Felipe Esquivel Reed)

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