The Arlington County Board today accepted more than $3 million dollars in additional federal aid to support low-to-moderate-income residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aid included more money for housing vouchers and funding for a range of relief programs to support families and small businesses.
“As the medical and economic emergency caused by COVID-19 continues, more and more families and individuals are facing serious hardship,” Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said. “The aid the Board accepted today will help thousands of our residents stay in their homes and put food on the table, help those who have lost jobs get training and find new work, and support our small businesses.”
The Board approved an amended Fiscal Year 2021 federal Housing and Urban Development Action Plan for COVID-19 relief that will provide $2.22 million in funding for seven local nonprofits to provide housing, food security, job training, and placement, and small business retention and support in the coming months. The funding is expected to assist some 4,100 Arlington individuals and families.
Grantees include the Arlington Food Assistance Center, Arlington Thrive, Doorways for Women and Families, the Legal Aid Justice Center, Northern Virginia Family Services, Real Food for Kids, and Service Source. Funding was awarded through a competitive bidding process.
The Board voted unanimously to approve and allocate the funding. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 29 on the agenda for the Sat., October 17, 2020, Regular County Board Meeting.
This is the third round of federal Community Development Block Grant funding that Arlington has received for COVID-19 relief efforts this year.
In March, the County was awarded $830,027 in CDBG-CV funds for pandemic relief. The County awarded $790,932 to the nonprofit Arlington Thrive for the CARES Emergency Rent Relief Program and $39,095 to the City of Falls Church through a cooperative agreement. In a second round, the County awarded another $873,500 in federal COVID-19 relief funding to nonprofits through a competitive bidding process in August. HUD notified the County on Sept. 11, 2020, that it would receive a third round of relief funding — approximately $1.35 million — of which $63,530 would be allocated to the City of Falls Church.
More Housing Voucher funding
In a separate action, the Board approved and allocated nearly $900,000 in additional HUD funding through December 2020 for Section 811 Housing Choice Vouchers. The federal CARES Act funding will subsidize rent for low-income families in Arlington, helping voucher holders who lost their jobs due to the pandemic and need more help to pay their rent and/or utilities.
The Housing Choice Voucher program is the federal government’s primary program for helping very low-income families, the elderly and those with disabilities afford housing in the private market. The program pays a housing subsidy to the landlord, with the family paying the difference between the rent charged and the amount subsidized.
The Board voted unanimously to approve and allocate the funding. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 33 on the agenda for the Sat., October 17, 2020, Regular County Board Meeting.
The Board also accepted a $240,665 grant from the Virginia Community College System for a rapid response fund to prevent, and/or respond to layoffs from Washington Reagan National Airport. Arlington will administer the grant, which will support residents and businesses in Arlington and Alexandria. Arlington’s Employment Services will work with airport employers to help identify additional support that might prevent layoffs and will offer online training opportunities to those who lose their jobs.
The Board voted unanimously to accept the funding. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 32 on the agenda for the Sat., October 17, 2020, Regular County Board Meeting.
Raising Grocery Card Income Cap
In another pandemic relief related action, the Board on Tuesday, Oct. 13 voted unanimously to raise the income cap for the County’s Grocery Card Pilot Program. The new cap is 200 percent of the federal poverty level of $26,200 for a family of four, or $52,400. The Action followed the Board’s vote on August 25 to allocate $400,000 to pay for grocery gift cards for Arlington families experiencing food insecurity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The gift cards are distributed by four of the Count’s health safety-net partners, including the Arlington Free Clinic, the Arlington Pediatric Center, the Virginia Hospital Center Outpatient Clinic, and the Department of Human Services’ Maternal and Child Health Clinic. To qualify, applicants self-report food insecurity, limited community mobility due to health conditions or caregiving responsibilities, and an income below the income cap. Distribution is tracked to prevents individuals from receiving gift cards from more than one source. To read the staff report, visit the County website.