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Upton urges MSHDA to release federal housing funding

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Washington, September 14, 2020 | Josh Paciorek (202-225-3761) | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) today sent a letter to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority calling on them to expediate the release of these Emergency Solutions Grants relief funds to help folks in southwest Michigan facing homelessness.

In March, Upton voted for and Congress passed the CARES Act, which included $4 billion for the Emergency Solutions Grants program. The state of Michigan has received in total more than $35 million, which was directed to MSHDA to help allocate to housing organizations. A number of housing organizations in southwest Michigan, such as the Housing Resources, Inc. in Kalamazoo, raised the issue with Upton and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson when Carson visited Kalamazoo last month that they have yet to receive this funding from MSHDA.

“As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the population of Michigan. People experiencing homelessness are uniquely vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, and to experiencing harsher effects of the virus,” Upton wrote. “It is imperative that these ESG funds get out the door and into the hands of organizations that desperately need them as they seek to address the unique challenge of homelessness during this pandemic.”

Upton’s full letter can be read below or here.

Mr. Gary Heidel

Acting Executive Director                                

Michigan State Housing Development Authority                                                         

735 E. Michigan Avenue

Lansing, Michigan 48912                                                                                     

Dear Mr. Heidel,

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the population of Michigan. People experiencing homelessness are uniquely vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, and to experiencing harsher effects of the virus. That is why Congress included $4 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program under the CARES Act.

Of the $4 billion for ESG under the CARES Act, Michigan received $17,313,093 in the first allocation on July 23, 2020 and $22,253,746 on September 1, 2020 in the second allocation. However, I am hearing from organizations in my district, such as Housing Resources, Inc. in Kalamazoo, have not received any of these much-needed ESG funds from Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). In a recent news article Chief Housing Solutions Officer Kelly Rose said MSHDA “issued 32 grants so far this month and the remaining nine, that includes Kalamazoo, will be issued this week.”[1] That article was published on August 17, 2020.

In addition, I learned that Michigan has yet to submit a plan for its regular ESG allocation for 2020, totaling $5,188,213.

It is imperative that these ESG funds get out the door and into the hands of organizations that desperately need them as they seek to address the unique challenge of homelessness during this pandemic. I ask that you please expediate the release of these emergency ESG relief funds as well as submit a plan for the traditional ESG allocation for 2020.

Please provide our office with a response by September 18, 2020. Thank you in advance for considering this important and timely request


[1] Mukomel, L. (2020, August 17). W MI charities say more federal aid needed as pandemic continues. Woodtv.com. Retrieved September 10, 2020, from https://www.woodtv.com/health/coronavirus/w-mi-charities-say-more-federal-aid-needed-as-pandemic-continues/

 

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