$79 million House ‘Covid Relief Bill’ funds wide swath of programs

The Vermont House of Representatives today passed ‘Covid Relief Bill’ H315, allocating $79 million in federal and state funding, according to release from the office of the Speaker of the House. The bill provides:

  • $700,000 Covid Relief Funds (CRF) for New Americans, refugees, and immigrants.
  • $1.3 million between general funds and CRF to the Department for Children and Families for families participating in the Reach Up program.
  • Economic Recovery Grants of $10 million general funds for Vermont businesses that experienced an economic loss due to the pandemic and did not meet the eligibility criteria for federal programs.
  • $10 million CRF funds to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board to provide shelter for persons at risk of experiencing homelessness or suffering economic harm due to the pandemic.
  • In the Department of Mental Health;  $300,000 general funds for Emergency Outreach Service Grants; $4 million general funds for Housing Supports in community settings; $850,000 general funds to provide case management staff at the Designated and Specialized Service Agencies; and  $150,000 general funds for training and wellness supports for front line health care workers.
  • $1,376,000 CRF to the Vermont Food Bank to pay the costs of the Vermont Farmers to Families Food Box Program for the months of January and February 2021.
  • $100,000 general funds to the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired to provide technology assistance to address social isolation.
  • $200,000 general funds for data collection and analysis regarding health equity and health disparities.
  • $15 million reallocated CRF to continue a school indoor air quality grant program with Efficiency Vermont.
  • A reserve of $20 million general funds to support future legislative action regarding pension funding initiatives and prefunding of other postemployment benefits (OPEB).
  • $1 million reauthorized in the Department of Public Service from unexpended CRF for the COVID-Response Line Extension Customer Assistance Program and $1.2 million reauthorized CRF for the Connected Community Resilience Planning Program.
  • $3 million general funds to the Agency of Agriculture, Food and markets for the Working Lands Program to allow early funding of projects.
  • $10 million general funds to the Agency of Natural Resources of which $5 million is for the Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation Vermont Outdoor Recreation Collaborative (VOREC) and $5 million is for the Central Office for investments to improve recreational infrastructure and access on State lands and Vermont’s trail network.

The bill now goes to the Vermont Senate.

3 replies »

  1. Yet more “affordable (i.e.: low/no income) housing….when you build it, they will come. Bennington has a NEVER-ending supply and the town has suffered DRAMATICALLY because of it – retailers moved out, higher crime rates, violent crime up, drugs & gang activity everywhere, Real Estate values nose-diving. THE USUAL LEFTIST “IMPROVEMENTS!”

  2. $79,000,000. of brand new MAGIC MONEY! You just take it up in a helicopter,
    and throw it out by the handfuls, until it’s all gone!

    Of course you can presume we get great value for this huge additional chunk
    of imaginary money Added to our already immense national, and state $debts$$$$$