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HUD issues $1.9 million in relief funds for Delaware housing authorities

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WILMINGTON – The Wilmington Housing Authority will receive more than $1.2 million in COVID-19 relief funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of a nearly $1.9 million allocation to four Delaware public-housing authorities.

Joesph DeFelice, Acting Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator of HUD

“Early on, Delaware announced a new program to provide emergency housing assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours, or unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 health crisis, said Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Joe DeFelice during a virtual announcement on Friday afternoon. The Delaware Housing Assistance Program, administered by DSHA, provides eligible households up to $1,500 in assistance, with payments made directly to the property owner or utility company. It’s that type of innovative thinking that will help all of us get through this challenging time.”

The funding was made available by the CARES Act legislation President Trump signed into law on March 27, 2020.

In addition to the WHA’s allocation, other recipients are:

  • Delaware State Housing Authority: $471,712
  • Dover Housing Authority: $121,783
  • Newark Housing Authority: $73,144

Nationwide, nearly $685 million in funding will be allocated through the Public Housing Operating Fund and can be used by PHAs to prepare for a coronavirus outbreak; prevent a coronavirus outbreak; or respond to a coronavirus outbreak.

Specific uses include:

  • Prepare for a Coronavirus Outbreak
    • Creation or update of infectious disease outbreak plan,
    • Sourcing and purchasing personal protective equipment for PHA staff,
    • Coordination with providers of services needed to support residents as a result of coronavirus, including cost of delivery of goods, supplies, and equipment,
    • Coordination with local health service providers for activities, including: the development or provision of guidance to staff or residents, travel for testing, or other reasons related to coronavirus,
    • Childcare costs for residents so that they can continue to work, and childcare costs for staff performing essential functions (as defined at the state/local), to the extent they would not have incurred otherwise, and
    • Other reasonable expenses related to preparing for the coronavirus.
  • Prevent a Coronavirus Outbreak
    • Costs related to maintaining adequate social distancing, including modifying or limiting access to communal spaces, increasing service hours to prevent crowding in waiting areas, or any other costs incurred to ensure adequate distance among staff and residents,
    • Costs of delivering supplies so that staff or residents can shelter in place, thereby reducing exposure to the greatest number of people,
    • Direct costs related to limiting the spread of the coronavirus, including travel costs for testing, or other preventive health measures related to coronavirus,
    • Expenses of isolating people suspected of being exposed or those at high-risk of serious complications if infected (e.g., elderly residents, and residents with underlying conditions),
    • Costs of protecting residents (particularly high-risk residents) from exposure from interaction with PHA staff and vice versa, and
    • Payment of salaries of PHA staff unable to work because of the coronavirus public health restrictions (e.g., office management staff who cannot go into the office and cannot perform work remotely, or payment of full salaries of PHA staff forced to work part-time because of lack of child care).
  • Respond to a Coronavirus Outbreak
    • Expenses of caring for PHA staff and residents who have tested positive, but do not require immediate hospitalization, including:
      • Payment for increases in sick leave allowances for PHA staff,
      • Physical, personnel, or security costs incurred to limit movement,
      • Costs to safely transport residents that tested positive to a quarantine facility, and
      • Costs of supporting residents in quarantine such as health-related supplies (e.g., masks and cleaning supplies).
    • Expenses to safely transport residents/staff in need of medical attention,
    • Expenses incurred because of coronavirus restrictions impacting PHA operations (e.g., paying for transportation expenses for PHA staff who rely on public transit that is no longer available),
    • Costs to facilitate and coordinate with local schools and local governments receiving funds from the Department of Education for the education of students in public housing households:
      • Internet connection infrastructure, and
      • Tablets or other low-cost computers for students.
    • Other reasonable expenses incurred while responding to the coronavirus.

In addition to the funding, HUD is announcing that PHAs may use Operating Funds and Capital Funds provided through prior Acts, for eligible Operating Fund and Capital Fund activities, or for coronavirus purposes.

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