TOPEKA – Today, Secretary of Administration Dr. DeAngela Burns-Wallace presented details to the State Finance Council related to 2021 federal coronavirus relief package.
At the end of 2020, Congress passed the FY2021 appropriations act that included a $900 billion Coronavirus Relief Act. This bill supplements initiatives and relief that started with the CARES act in 2020 and is focused on relieving those most impacted by the pandemic and strengthening economic recovery. These federal funds have begun flowing to Kansans through certain program areas.
“I’ve frequently advocated for additional relief for our state and I am glad to see these funds are beginning to reach Kansans,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for all of us, but these funds are a step in the right direction by reinvesting in our state’s foundation to rebuild a healthier, stronger Kansas.”
During the distribution of relief funds as part of the CARES Act in 2020, the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) committee allocated more than $1.03 billion to businesses, schools, health departments and invested in expanding broadband to Kansans.
While the 2020 Coronavirus relief dollars flowed through the SPARK Committee, the 2021 Coronavirus relief package will flow directly to beneficiaries, earmarked for specific purposes with ranging levels of discretion on programmatic funds.
Among the state entities receiving targeted funding in the second round of funding are the Kansas State Department of Education to support COVID response and prep for returning to in-person classes, the Kansas Department of Children and Families to provide immediate assistance to child care providers, the Kansas Department of Transportation to provide operating assistance for transit services and the Kansas Department of Agriculture to support supply chain issues and block grants to boost existing farm stress programs.
Governor Kelly also continues to work with other state leaders and the federal government to secure additional funding and to ensure resources are provided in the following areas.
Kansans will have increased access to robust testing, tracking, and tracing program as the state works to combat the virus and continue with vaccine distribution, thanks to nearly $200M in federal funding for these initiatives. Healthcare providers can be reimbursed for expenses and there will be additional funding for mental health.
Kansans will continue to have access to remote learning for their school-aged children through the spring. Simultaneously, schools are working through plans to recover student enrollment, mitigate learning loss, and promote well-being. Plans include expanding access to childcare and supporting providers.
Economic development, including business resiliency and workforce support
New funding in forgivable loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program is now available to both new and repeat applicants. Applications opened in smaller community financial institutions on January 11, and in all banks on January 20. Business owners must submit applications by March 31 and are eligible for up to $10M if they did not receive funds in 2020 and $2M if they previously received a PPP loan. The Kansas Department of Commerce is working to ensure both financial institutions and businesses have the support they need to maximize access to funds and equity of distribution. This program not only supports businesses, but directly supports employees by requiring the majority of funds to go towards payroll and making forgiveness dependent on maintaining employee hours and wages.
Kansans on the SNAP program are already receiving a 15% increase in funds to purchase nutritious food. The Emergency Food Assistance Program, Older Americans nutrition services, the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Program and other basic needs programs will each also see additional federal support.
Housing and Utility Assistance
Kansas tenants and landlords financially impacted by COVID will receive nearly $200 million to support housing stability. Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) will administer the majority of these funds, distributing emergency rental and utility assistance to prevent evictions and keep Kansans safely housed.
The Kansas Department of Transportation will increase highway preservation work to generate job growth and restore aging infrastructure. KDOT will increase the number of Local Partnership Program projects, with special consideration given to hard hit communities. The department will also share a portion of these funds with local governments to help restore the motor fuel tax revenue losses they have experienced.
These programs are only a few examples of the critical support that Kansans will receive as a result of the Coronavirus Relief Act.
As Coronavirus relief programs move into an administrative phase, the Secretary of Administration DeAngela Burns-Wallace will serve as point of contact and coordination for recovery programs, provide updates on program development, and information on how Kansans can access funding and enroll in support programs.
Stakeholders can find information about 2020 SPARK investments on the Investments Dashboard here.
For a list of FAQs on Covid relief programs in Kansas, please visit: https://covid.ks.gov/.