Northam signs revised budget, adds to COVID-19 relief support

(Governor Northam's Office)
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 10:40 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Previous funding allocations under the CARES Act were finalized Wednesday when Governor Ralph Northam signed Virginia’s revised biennial budget, House Bill 5005.

Following the August 18 General Assembly special session, this new spending plan will protect what Northam calls key priorities, preserve the state’s financial options and address challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am grateful to our partners in the General Assembly their work in crafting a revised spending plan that protects the most vulnerable Virginians, stays true to our shared values, and puts the Commonwealth in a strong position to weather this public health crisis,” said Northam.

The allocations are as follows:

“· Vaccination Program: $22 million for the Virginia Department of Health’s vaccination preparation and planning through the end of 2020

· K-12 Schools: $220 million for COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts in K-12 public schools, with all 132 school districts receiving at least $100,000

· Higher Education: $116 million to support ongoing COVID-19 response at public colleges, universities, and medical schools and $22 million for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to provide payments to private institutions of higher education

· Child Care: $65.8 million to increase access to child care and continue child care incentive grant program established in April

· Small Business Assistance: $70 million to establish the Rebuild VA economic recovery fund providing grants to small businesses and nonprofit organizations impacted by the pandemic and $30 million in additional funds to continue the program

· Broadband Accessibility: $30 million to fast-track broadband projects in underserved localities

· Home Health Workers: $73 million to provide hazard pay to home health personal attendants who served high-risk populations during the early months of the pandemic

· Workforce Training for Unemployed Virginians: $30 million to established the Re-Employing Virginians initiative providing scholarships to individuals who enroll in programs in high-demand fields

· Rent and Mortgage Relief: $12 million to expand the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program launched in June

· Food Banks: $7 million to help Virginia food banks meet increased demand for food assistance

· Medicaid Day Support Providers: $25 million to fund monthly retainer payments for day support programs that provide services for Virginians with developmental disabilities.

· Free Clinics: $3 million to reimburse members of the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics for COVID-19 expenses”

Utility Shutoff Protections

An additional $100 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds are being provided to jurisdictional and municipal utility customers hit with hardships making payments during the health crisis. The State Corporation Commission was directed to build an application process for how to distribute the funds.

An indefinite moratorium on utility disconnections will be in effect until Governor Northam determines that the economic and public health conditions have reached a place where it can be removed or until at least 60 days beyond the declared state of emergency ends. A repayment plan will be established to give customers a chance to pay debt over a longer period of time.

Eviction Protections

The prohibition of evictions will run through December 31, 2020. Both landlords and tenants must apply for rental assistance through Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program. After January 1, 2021, both parties must work together to access rent assistance before any eviction is made.

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