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
Was broadband funding part of the most recent COVID-19 federal
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
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.
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.