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Indianapolis council approves additional funds for COVID-19 programs

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Posted at 10:39 PM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 22:39:32-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday approved a funding package aimed at helping the city's most vulnerable populations while the city awaits additional help from the federal government.

Council approved a $12.9 million proposal that 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.

"Last year, Congress allocated $168 million in local funds to Indianapolis, allowing us to be reactive to the needs of our community. I am proud of the investments we made, in partnership with the City-County Council, but we know the needs haven't subsided just because the CARES dollars have been spent," Mayor Joe Hogsett said. "Even as Indianapolis residents start to receive the vaccine, the effects of COVID-19 continue to threaten far too many in our city. 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."

According to the city, Indy's non-congregate shelter site has served nearly 300 residents. Over 550 residents have been served between two winter contingency overflow shelters. Since the start of the rental assistance program, over 15,800 households have received funding.

Under the city's CARES Act allocation, the city has spent more than $33 million for residential rental assistance. In 2020, the city allocated more than $7 million for food distribution efforts, $7 million for public health measures at the Indiana Convention Center, $5 million for non-congregate housing accommodations, and $7.1 million for rapid re-housing of individuals experiencing homelessness.

In addition, the city also made available $47 million in small business and nonprofit resources like HELP grants, paycheck protection and rapid response loans, PPE and more.

The city has also distributed more than 815,000 free face coverings to individuals and service providers.