PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to help keep people safe and provide emergency housing assistance amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced a new award of $6,246,719 in federal Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding for the Ocean State.  Reed says the new federal funds will help non-profits, local governments, public housing authorities, and other community entities across the state provide critical assistance to vulnerable Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.

Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD), successfully led efforts to include $4 billion in ESG funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law No. 116-136).  This second and final round of ESG funding raises Rhode Island’s total awards to $11.2 million for emergency homeless assistance, homelessness prevention, and rapid rehousing initiatives through this program.

Senator Reed, who was part of the bipartisan working group that negotiated key provisions of the CARES Act, stated: “This is a challenging time, and those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness are particularly vulnerable.  We have to find ways to keep people safe, protect public health, and prevent an affordable housing crisis from becoming an eviction disaster.  Too many people are out of work and this targeted federal assistance will help keep a roof over their heads and prevent more families from ending up on the street.  We also need to continue working toward long-term solutions to prevent and end homelessness and increase the supply of quality affordable housing.

This funding can be used to provide essential services to people experiencing homelessness including child care, education services, street outreach, employment assistance, outpatient health services, legal assistance, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and transportation.  It may also be used for eviction prevention assistance, including rapid rehousing, housing stability case management, tenant legal services, and rental assistance.

Under this second and final round of funding, the following communities will receive ESG allocations: 

Pawtucket: $624,909 ($1,173,585 total in ESG rounds 1 and 2)

Providence: $1,846,439 ($3,367,477 total in ESG rounds 1 and 2)

Woonsocket: $499,750 ($898,981 total in ESG rounds 1 and 2)

RI Non-entitlement: $3,275,621 ($5,754,476 total in ESG rounds 1 and 2)

Rhode Island Total: $6,246,719 ($11,194,519  in ESG rounds 1 & 2)

“Health and housing go hand in hand.  I will continue doing everything I can to invest in our communities and speed financial assistance to the state to combat COVI9-19 and the economic fallout.  These federal funds will help communities across Rhode Island address some of their most pressing needs,” said Senator Reed, who, in addition to his leadership on the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee also serves as a senior member of the Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over ESG.

Reed continued: “I fought for as much funding as Republicans would support for Emergency Solutions Grants because people experiencing homelessness are among the highest risk for COVID-19 exposure.  They are more vulnerable than people who can shelter safely in their own homes.  The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless and other non-profits are valiantly doing everything they can to coordinate and strengthen support networks, keep people safe, and limit the spread of coronavirus.  But there is a real strain on resources.  Hopefully, this federal funding can help them save lives.  Clearly the federal government must do more to help the nation’s homeless population if we are going to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

ESG is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the spending decisions are made locally.

This federal funding comes on top of the $1.25 billion Senator Reed secured for Rhode Island through the Coronavirus Relief Fund for states and localities, as well as other CARES Act funding.