Biden signed an executive order on Thursday aimed to increase reimbursements and other assistance to states in the battle against the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. Per the order, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shall “make available under Category B of the Public Assistance program such assistance as may be required by States (including territories and the District of Columbia), local governments, and Tribal governments to provide for the safe opening and operation of eligible schools, child-care facilities, healthcare facilities, non-congregate shelters, domestic violence shelters, transit systems, and other eligible applicants.”
“FEMA shall make assistance under this section available at a 100 percent Federal cost share until September 30, 2021,” the order adds.
While the specific details have yet to be determined, the move represents a shift from the Trump administration, which agreed to reimburse such activities up to 75 percent. Biden’s order could result in U.S. taxpayers covering the cost of the homeless hotels used in San Francisco throughout the pandemic entirely. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the city is sheltering roughly 2,200 homeless in over two dozen hotels.
City Controller Ben Rosenfield said it remains unclear if the order is retroactive. If so, the city could be entitled to millions of dollars.
“I think it’s safe to say it will apply from now until September, for those that are eligible,” Rosenfield stated.
“Rosenfield said about 85% of the hotel guests are likely eligible for reimbursement, though it was unclear Friday whether the Biden administration changed the definition of who qualifies,” the outlet added, reporting that Biden’s executive order is welcomed among city officials, as the previous administration did not specify when federal funding would come to a halt.
“Fantastic!” supervisor Hillary Ronen said of Biden’s order. “Now we can open more spots for people experiencing homelessness to stay safe during the rest of this pandemic”:
Fantastic! Now we can open more spots for people experiencing homelessness to stay safe during the rest of this pandemic. Can’t wait to work with Federal & State leaders on permanent fixes to homelessness. https://t.co/BeLWUPUH17
— Hillary Ronen (@HillaryRonen) January 22, 2021
The California Department of Housing and Community Development reportedly used tens of millions of federal dollars via the Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) to put homeless individuals in hotel rooms in the era of the Chinese coronavirus, as Breitbart News reported in August.
“Administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), $600 million in grant funding will be made available to local public entities, including cities, counties, or other local public entities, including housing authorities or federally recognized tribal governments within California to purchase and rehabilitate housing, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other buildings and convert them into interim or permanent, long-term housing,” the Homekey program announced at the time, noting that “$550 million is derived from the State’s direct allocation of the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief Funds (CRF).”