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.