HUD Allocates $685M in Relief for Public Housing

The funding is part of the CARES Act legislation and will be used for PPE equipment, childcare costs and other COVID-19-related issues.
The Queensbridge Houses in New York City. Image via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will allocate $685 million in relief funding to public housing authorities across the U.S., in a move to help low-income residents with costs relating to the coronavirus outbreak.

The funds come from the CARES Act legislation that was signed into law March 27 and will go to the Public Housing Operating Fund. The allocated money can be used by housing authorities for a number of Coronavirus-related reasons, including obtaining PPE equipment for staff, helping residents travel to get testing and childcare costs.

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“HUD is cutting red tape to make funds for Coronavirus relief available immediately to public housing residents by not requiring Department approval if funds are going to approved PHA COVID-19 related measures,” Carson tweeted May 1, shortly after announcing the funding.

In early April, HUD’s first wave of funding following the passing of the CARES Act was more than $3 billion that went to assisting communities and non-profits, the homeless and those with compromised immune systems, and to Tribal communities to help with COVID-19 response efforts.

Public housing authorities across the nation were already struggling with budget shortfalls and maintenance backlogs pre-pandemic, and housing advocates have said the added financial difficulties brought on by the pandemic could exacerbate pre-existing conditions.

In late March, HUD Secretary Ben Carson urged public housing authorities not to evict residents from their homes. Carson said his agency had been in contract with “every public housing agency in the country” to ensure no one was displaced during the pandemic. The U.S. has some 3,300 public housing authorities that house 1.2 million households.