WASHINGTON — As families experiencing homelessness face challenges compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen joined their colleagues in reintroducing the bipartisan Emergency Family Stabilization Act. This bipartisan bill creates a new grant program to provide flexible funding for community-based organizations working to meet the unique and challenging needs of children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a significant strain on families across New Hampshire, and for some of our most vulnerable families, that has meant the loss of their home,” Senator Hassan said. “We must provide additional resources to help ensure that families, children, and young adults have a safe place to stay, particularly during the winter months. I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation to better support organizations that are assisting families who have been hardest hit by the pandemic, and I will keep working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help provide housing and other community assistance to those in need.”
“The pandemic worsened the homelessness crisis that New Hampshire cities and towns were already experiencing, with communities like Manchester among the hardest hit. As working families face record unemployment and job insecurity amid this public health crisis, we must do everything in our power to ensure Granite Staters, and particularly children and at-risk youth, have a roof over their heads,” Senator Shaheen said. “That’s why this bill that would provide emergency funding to support shelters and service organizations is so important. Ensuring frontline organizations across the state have the resources they need to protect Granite Staters experiencing homelessness will continue to be a top priority, and I’ll keep working across the aisle to deliver emergency relief to families struggling to stay afloat during this pandemic.”
The bipartisan Emergency Family Stabilization Act aims to provide emergency funding to underserved populations and areas, including rural and tribal communities, who continue to see long-term repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak. The new grant program will be administered by the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The bill also ensures that funding can be used for a wide range of emergency housing, health, education, and safety-related activities, including but not limited to: purchasing PPE, food, hygiene supplies, mental health services, transportation services, emergency child care, communications and connectivity needs, education, training and employment-related needs, eviction prevention, motel stays, assistance in seeking housing placements, assistance in accessing unemployment and other federal benefits.
Senators Hassan and Shaheen are working to support vulnerable populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and joined in introducing bipartisan legislation last year, that is now law, to give the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs greater flexibility in caring for and meeting the needs of homeless veterans in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Senators Hassan and Shaheen also joined the rest of the delegation in announcing more than $1.8 million in funding through the CARES Act to support affordable housing for Granite Staters during the COVID-19 crisis.