Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed off on a bipartisan bill to invest $2.2 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding to support the recovery of residents and businesses struggling with the effects of the ongoing pandemic.
“As we look ahead, we have an unprecedented opportunity to use federal stimulus funds to help Michigan’s families, small businesses, and communities emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever before,” Whitmer said in a statement.
“The bipartisan bill that I signed today is the result of good-faith efforts by members of the legislature and it is a testament to what we can do together: make a real difference in people’s lives right now. With life getting back to normal, we are turning full attention to our state’s economic jumpstart by creating jobs with higher wages, giving small businesses the needed capital to ramp up hiring and boost investment, and making sure every family has access to affordable, quality childcare,” she added.
The new round of government funding is expected to help families put food on the table via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and keep their current housing through the Emergency Rental Assistance program.
Money will also go toward disaster response services, paying off interest, and local governmental aid.
“I’m glad we’re getting these critical FEMA disaster assistance dollars out to impacted communities and putting our federal relief funds to effective use helping struggling Michiganders feed their families, supporting local governments and ensuring people have access to emergency rental assistance,” Sen. Jim Stamas, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.
Other states, such as California, are also seeking to lend a helping hand to struggling renters. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently pushed the state legislature to approve his plan to use $5.2 billion in federal relief money to pay all of unpaid rent owed by low-income individuals.
Under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the state received $4.7 billion in funds that were disbursed specifically for rental assistance. For those who are deemed eligible for the federal assistance, they could potentially be on the receiving end of $25,000 to cover both missed and future rent for up to eighteen months.
“The Treasury (Emergency Rental Assistance) program includes an unprecedented amount of funding for emergency rental assistance to help renters stay stably housed,” National Low Income Housing Coalition writes on its website.
Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill is also making sure to assist homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments via the nearly $10 billion Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF).
“The purpose of the Homeowner Assistance Fund is to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020,” the Treasury Department writes.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.