Last week, HUD posted award amounts for the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) supplemental grant funds provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In the coming days, HOPWA grantees will receive award letters that will include the following information and next steps regarding implementation of the CARES Act funds:
Use of Grant Funds
The supplemental funds provided under the CARES Act are to be used by HOPWA grantees as additional funding to maintain operations and for rental assistance, supportive services, and other necessary actions, in order to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
The supplemental award may be used to reimburse allowable costs incurred prior to the receipt of the award provided such costs were used to prevent, prepare for, or respond to COVID-19.
Activities for which grantees may use the supplemental grant funds include, for example:
- Assisting HOPWA eligible households in accessing essential services and supplies such as food, water, medications, medical care, and information
- Educating assisted households on ways to reduce the risk of getting sick or spreading infectious diseases such as COVID-19 to others
- Providing transportation services for eligible households, including costs for privately-owned vehicle transportation when needed, to access medical care, supplies, and food or to commute to places of employment
- Providing nutrition services for eligible households in the form of food banks, groceries, and meal deliveries
- Providing lodging at hotels, motels, or other locations to quarantine HOPWA-eligible persons or their household members
- Providing short-term rent, mortgage, and utility (STRMU) assistance payments to prevent homelessness of a tenant or mortgagor of a dwelling for a period of up to 24 months
The supplemental grant funds will be provided to existing competitive renewal grantees as a one-time, non-renewable award. Competitive grantees are not required to use the supplemental grant funds on permanent supportive housing but may use their awards on any HOPWA eligible activities that address the needs of their communities related to coronavirus prevention, preparedness, and response.
Formula grantees should follow existing requirements for development of substantial amendments to their action plans that describe the amount of funding in the supplemental allocation and the planned use of funds. Please note, however, that the 30-day minimum for the required public comment period is waived for substantial amendments, provided that no less than five days are provided for public comment on each substantial amendment. This waiver is available through the end of each grantee’s 2020 program year.
Availability of Regulatory Waivers
HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) has provided certain regulatory waivers to offer additional flexibility to program participants to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to facilitate assistance to eligible communities and households economically impacted by the virus. Grantees should consult the Availability of Waivers of CPD Grant Program and Consolidated Plan Requirements to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 and Mitigate Economic Impacts Caused by COVID-19 memorandum for more information.
Grant agreements for the supplemental awards will be issued through local HUD Field Offices. Within 14 days of executing their grant agreements with HUD, grantees will also be expected to execute new project sponsor agreements addressing how the supplemental funding will be used.
Further information and guidance pertaining to the administration of the supplemental award, including eligible uses of the grant funding and reporting requirements, is forthcoming. Grantees with questions about the supplemental grant funds should contact their local CPD Office Director.
The Office of HIV/AIDS Housing (OHH) is hosting a webinar for HOPWA grantees and project sponsors related to COVID-19 on April 13, 2020 from 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT. OHH staff and Technical Assistance (TA) Providers will provide information and answer participant questions related to COVID-19 planning and response. Grantees and project sponsors are encouraged to register for the HOPWA Program COVID-19 Updates Webinar.