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Rep. Russo announces over $547 million in federal funds for COVID-19 and economic relief

Says economic relief is long overdue
October 27, 2020
C. Allison Russo News

COLUMBUS – State Representative Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) and House Democrats Monday announced the approval of funds by the state Controlling Board to further aid Ohio’s response to the health and economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Controlling Board Monday approved federal CARES Act funding for several items aimed at providing financial relief to Ohio’s citizens, small businesses, and non-profits impacted by the pandemic, including:

  • $125 million to create the Small Business Relief Grant Program;
  • $55.2 million for rent, mortgage and utility assistance
  • $38.7 million to create the Ohio Bar and Restaurant Assistance Program;
  • $20 million to create the Ohio Arts and Cultural Organizations Grant Program;
  • $25 million to the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services to support non-profit organizations

“We must make sure our communities and economy come out of this public health emergency in a strong position,” said Rep. Russo.  “While released much later than it should have been, I am pleased that these critical funds are now available, especially since Ohio is facing the largest resurgence of COVID-19 cases since July.  This support will go a long way to helping Ohio’s citizens, small businesses, and non-profits weather this ongoing pandemic.”

While this economic relief funding is critical for many Ohioans, House Democrats took issue with how long these funds were withheld. Since the start of the pandemic, Democrats have been calling for the legislature to return to session to pass several Democratic-sponsored bills that provide rental, mortgage and utility relief for residents, as well as aid and assistance to small businesses, front-line workers, unemployed Ohioans, caregivers, schools, and so many others who have been struggling.

The Controlling Board on Monday also voted to approve the following COVID-19 related funding items using federal dollars:

  • $93.3 million to the Ohio Dept. of Health to expand statewide COVID-19 testing capabilities;
  • $62 million for Ohio’s rural hospitals;
  • $100 million to Ohio public higher education institutions;
  • $24.6 million to the Ohio Dept. of Public Safety to support the Ohio National Guard’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • $2.5 million to the Ohio Dept. of Veterans Services to reimburse costs related to addressing COVID-19 spread in Ohio Veterans Homes in Georgetown and Sandusky;
  • $1 million to Ohio’s public libraries to continue operations