UPDATE: Council OKs spending $13M on pandemic relief funds

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The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday night voted 23-0 to to direct $12.9 million from the city’s general fund to pandemic relief efforts while it waits for possible additional federal funding.

The measure allocates an additional $6 million toward direct rental assistance, $4.5 million toward homeless programming and $1.9 million toward contact tracing, among other programs.

The city last year received and allocated $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.

“Even as Indianapolis residents start to receive the vaccine, the effects of COVID-19 continue to threaten far too many in our city,” Hogsett said in written remarks. “This allocation will help extend existing programs and serve as a bridge until we receive additional federal funds that can more meaningfully address the scope of challenges Indianapolis families are facing.”

The council on Monday night also reelected Vop Osili and Zach Adamson as council president and vice president, respectively, while councillors Maggie Lewis and Brian Mowery were reelected as Majority and Minority Leaders.

Earlier story:

The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday night will consider a measure requesting nearly $13 million in additional funding for efforts tied to the city’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Joe Hogsett has asked the council to appropriate about $12.9 million in the city’s general fund for a variety of uses, including housing for the homeless, rental assistance, contact tracing and carryout dining parking costs.

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.

“Even as Indianapolis residents start to receive the vaccine, the effects of COVID-19 continue to threaten far too many in our city,” Hogsett said in written remarks. “This allocation will help extend existing programs and serve as a bridge until we receive additional federal funds that can more meaningfully address the scope of challenges Indianapolis families are facing.”

The funding proposal, sponsored by Council President Vop Osili, is the first the council will hear in the new year.

At least $6 million of the requested funds would be used on rental assistance, with another $4.5 million used for homeless sheltering, including those who are considered at high-risk of contracting the virus.

The city’s non-congregate shelter, specifically for those high-risk individuals, has served nearly 300 residents, while another 550 have been helped between two winter overflow shelters.

The rental assistance program has provided funds to more than 15,800 households.

About $1.9 million is expected to be spent on contact tracing efforts for COVID-19 and another $300,000 on food assistance programs. The city also plans to spend $110,000 on parking meter costs for carryout dining, $70,000 on an expansion of its pathway to employment program and $36,000 on portable toilets for homeless individuals.

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