Cities Get COVID-19 Funds, Legislators Seek Federal Designation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded nearly $3.9 million to Youngstown and Warren to address the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease spread by the coronavirus.

The funds represented just over a third of the $11.2 million allotted to the 13th congressional district coming from the recently approved coronavirus economic stabilization package, according to a release from U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio.

More than $8.3 million was allocated from the Community Development Block Grant program for the congressional district, including $2,091,689 for Youngstown and $702,138 for Warren. An additional $2.9 million was allocated from the Emergency Solutions Grant, of which Youngstown received $1,062,917.

The money allocated to governments in the district were part of $5 billion provided by HUD through the CDBG program to help nearly 1,240 states, counties and cities rapidly respond to COVID-19 and the economic and housing impacts caused by it. The ESG is part of Homeless Assistance Grants and can be used for homeless prevention strategies and to help people who are currently homeless due to the virus.

“As we face this unprecedented health crisis in Ohio and around the nation, federal resources are more important than ever. I will continue to work each and every day to ensure that we get what we need in our local communities,” Ryan said in the release. “This money will allow our communities to provide assistance where it is most needed.”

Ryan also joined U.S. Sens. Rob Portman, Sherrod Brown and the entire Ohio congressional delegation to urge President Donald Trump to act swiftly on Gov. Mike DeWine’s request for approval of a major disaster declaration for the state of Ohio in response to the outbreak. 

Approval of the request would open a new funding resource through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist with the state’s response.

“COVID-19 has created significant and unprecedented challenges for state and local governments, businesses, individuals, and families in Ohio. The state and local governments do not have the capacity to sufficiently respond to this major disaster, and therefore, additional federal assistance is necessary to supplement response and recovery efforts,” the delegation wrote. “We fully support Governor DeWine’s request, and urge your prompt consideration.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.