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Jan 12

January 12, 2021 TML Coronavirus Update #164

Posted on January 12, 2021 at 12:20 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


Is there a good summary of the city-related portions of the new COVID-19 stimulus legislation?


Yes. The National League of Cities recently released their Summary of Coronavirus Response and Relief Provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (H.B. 133).


What do Texas cities need to know about the new federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program?


In its most recent COVID-19 stimulus package, Congress allocated $25 billion towards a new Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program. Generally speaking, ERA funds are designed to assist households unable to pay rent or utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


ERA payments will be made directly to qualifying Texas cities and counties with populations exceeding 200,000 (list). In order to receive direct ERA funding, cities and counties over 200,000 population must submit to the U.S Department of Treasury completed payment information and a signed acceptance of award terms form not later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on January 12, 2021, to ensure payments are made within the 30-day period specified by the statute. Treasury guidance, including the necessary paperwork, can be found here.


Texas cities with populations of 200,000 and less will ultimately need to work with state and county government, as applicable, to receive pass-through ERA funding. (Note: Treasury guidance shows that Texas state government will receive roughly $1.95 billion in ERA funding.) The League will provide information on how cities under 200,000 population can access ERA funding from the state when it becomes available.


Was broadband funding part of the most recent COVID-19 federal stimulus package?


Yes. The recently-passed federal stimulus bill allocated nearly $7 billion in total towards broadband activities. Of that amount, $3.2 billion was reserved for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, which generally provides for a $50 per-month emergency benefit to qualifying low-income households to gain or retain internet access. Under the program, funding is allocated to participating internet providers who receive reimbursement for discounts provided to qualifying customers.


On January 4, the FCC issued a press release on the program and published a request for comment on how to best administer the EBB program.


What’s the latest news on vaccine distribution in Texas?


On Sunday (January 10) the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced that 28 vaccination hub providers throughout the state will be receiving 158,825 vaccine doses this week. The full list of vaccine allocations from DSHS for this week can be accessed here.


Further Updates


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.