City-County Council allocates another $43M for ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts

The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday night unanimously approved appropriating another $43 million in federal funding for the city’s ongoing pandemic relief efforts, including the rental assistance and small business loan programs.

The dollars largely come from the federal relief package approved by Congress on Dec. 21, 2020, which also distributed $600 stimulus checks to qualified individuals. The new funds come less than a month after the council approved a smaller, city-funded package allocating nearly $13 million for homelessness programs and rental assistance.

“This funding will extend vital assistance to Indianapolis renters, small business owners, workers, and residents throughout our city,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said in a written statement. “As the economic effects of the pandemic will stretch long past 2021, these programs will help our neighborhoods recover in the short run and thrive in the long run.”

At least $29.1 million in the new funding round is specifically earmarked for the rental assistance program.

The council also passed a $3.7 million appropriation to cover the city’s pandemic-related expenses, such as overtime, personal protective equipment and cleaning services. The money comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public assistance program. Last year, Marion County’s claim to the program exceeded $3 million.

Another $10 million will fund short-term loans through the IndyChamber Rapid Response effort, which helps small businesses secure Paycheck Protection Program loans. About 180 Indianapolis businesses have already secured loans through the program.

The city last year received and appropriated $168 million in funds from the federal government, including more than $70 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which has been allocated for numerous programs, including combatting homelessness, food assistance and rental assistance, along with financial aid for hundreds of local businesses.

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