Georgians in line for $585M from feds to relieve housing scarcity, pandemic victims

(GA Recorder) — Georgia communities and nonprofits are receiving an influx of hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to help relieve ‌homelessness‌, the affordable‌ ‌housing‌ ‌crisis‌ and help nonprofits and businesses who suffered during‌ ‌the‌ ‌pandemic.

More than $585 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Department of Housing and Urban Development is being awarded to create more affordable housing options, tackle food insecurity, businesses and support nonprofits that help Georgians in need.

Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday announced the creation of new grant programs that will provide $50 million to nonprofits dealing with the economic hardships caused by COVID-19, including $29.6 million going to the Atlanta Food Bank to combat food insecurity. Another $100 million will go to organizations to support affordable housing and assistance for people experiencing homelessness while $150 million will be given to hotel owners as the number of booked rooms plummeted for more than a year during the pandemic as fewer people traveled and once-lucrative Georgia conventions became virtual‌ ‌affairs.

The awards announcement comes a week before voters will cast ballots on Election Day when Kemp faces a primary challenger.

And Democratic U.S. Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff announced this month that $170 million in HUD grant investments will be distributed to 27 localities across the state to bring more affordable housing options to Georgians across the economic spectrum.

The governor’s announcement covers a $415 million package awarded to nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses as part of March 2021 funding received by the state under the federal coronavirus relief.

Meanwhile, Warnock and Ossoff said helping secure the HUD funding is aimed at providing relief from an overheated housing market.

As part of the housing grant, money is earmarked for investments made in affordable housing, including funding for rental assistance and nonprofits and other organizations to renovate affordable housing and help HIV-affected people living in low-income households get housing assistance supportive services.

Another $45 million will be allocated to the state’s Community Planning and Development grant program so that ‌local governments can provide housing and economic opportunities, primarily to‌ ‌low-‌ ‌and‌ ‌moderate-income‌ ‌residents.

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, front, and Sen. Jon Ossoff say $171 million in federal funding will provide Georgians with much-needed housing assistance. File 2021 live stream photo 

“These investments will help elevate families into the working and middle class and keep costs down, ensuring every Georgian can get their slice of the American Dream,” Warnock said in a statement. “Housing is the foundation that helps people support their families and contribute to their economies. I’m so glad we were able to secure these investments for Georgians.”

Among the organizations benefiting from Kemp’s allotment is the United Way of Central Georgia that gets $3.7 million for homelessness services.

The Macon-based regional organization partnered with other groups and the local government in running a Macon warming center that provides families in need and the homeless with a safe place to stay.

In addition, $6.1 million will go to the state’s veteran services to help former service members find jobs.

“I’m proud of our state’s resilience, and as of today, we have worked hard and identified ways to further deliver assistance to hardworking Georgians, support businesses and speed up the recovery of impacted industries, and rebuild crucial public services,” Kemp said in a statement.

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