Allocate Emergency COVID Funding for Housing Immediately
Thousands of Michigan families are facing homelessness as a result of evictions related to COVID. They can’t pay bills and landlords have notes coming due. The COVID emergency eviction moratorium approved by our State Legislature ends in March.
Meanwhile, our Republican Senate refuses to allocate Supplemental Federal COVID funds that can be used to avoid the crisis. Governor Whitmer’s plan allocates $660 million toward housing relief, while Republicans allocate only $220 million “for now”. Instead of allowing state staff to plan, set up processes including rules and regulations for Emergency Housing Assistance in a way that will help all our citizens, Republican Legislators want to hand out several of these small allocations. This results in state agencies only being able to set up small programs instead of the massive emergency housing allocations that are needed. They have to plan as if that is all there is, as that is all that is allocated to them to spend. Numerous staff hours are spent setting up each of these. Then, if the Republican Legislature decides to allocate a few more dollars, the whole process will need to be repeated. Meanwhile, thousands of families lose their homes. If the state agencies decide to contract some of this funding to any part of the private sector, they will need to put contracts out for bid. They cannot award contracts for more money than they have allocated. Various contracts need to be in place as no one agency covers all of our state. This is not efficient nor effective use of government staff when it was clearly intended by our Federal government to move all this funding to meet our citizens’ needs.
For proof that ALL of this money is needed urgently, Republicans need only look at how quickly the $50 million allocated from the first CARES package was spent. It was gone in less than a month. And because big landlords have the staff to get all the paperwork in fast, it left many regular folks with zero assistance. So, for them, this is the FIRST housing money they will see since the pandemic began.
Federal funding arrives to states with use it or lose it requirements. If not spent by a certain date, the funds go back to the federal government. Michigan loses. Our economy loses. We all lose. Perhaps Senate leader Shirkey plans to allocate the funds so late in the fiscal year that the agencies have no chance of spending it and he can blame our Governor.
The Republican legislature seems to only care about punishing our female governor and not about helping the citizens of our state. Somehow, they think this will result in the Republicans having a better chance of defeating Governor Whitmer in 2022.
We need to let our Senators know that this behavior is unacceptable. Get the federal dollars out so that folks can stay in their homes, landlords can pay their bills and state agencies can do their jobs by overseeing an emergency housing program that our federal representatives intended. This funding was handed to the states to help residents stay in their homes and assist in building our economy back to where it was when COVID started. RELEASE THE FUNDS – ALL THE FUNDS is our message. We are trying to prevent homelessness, not increase it. Once again, our radical extremist Senators are playing political games with our lives simply because they think they can use state failures to replace our female governor in 2022. This tactic is not only wrong but harms our entire state and we need to let them know that.
So, what can we do now? Give voice to the people suffering in our state by letting the GOP know we see who they are. These woefully inadequate COVID supplemental budget bills continue moving through the Senate. Please call these state senators and tell them to release all of the federal funds for COVID relief now..
Michael McDonald, (D10 Macomb County) (517-373-7315)
Jim Bumstead (D 34 Newago County) (517-373-1635)
Jim Runestad (D 15 White Lake Township) (517-373-1758)
Jim Stamas (D 36 Midland County) (517-373-7946)
Possible Language for calling MI State Senators
Hello, I’m calling Senator _____________ to let him know how disappointed I am with the proposed handling of the Supplemental Federally allocated COVID relief funds for housing in the latest GOP budget bills. The people of Michigan are suffering now! Thousands are at risk of eviction and homelessness. Massive relief is needed now. Your job is to release it without harmful, politically motivated conditions. Allocate all the funds now!
House Republican COVID Bill Analyses: