Harrisburg, Pa. – The House of Representatives today passed Senate Bill 1108, which would distribute approximately $2.6 billion in federal relief funds throughout Pennsylvania’s counties as well as across various state government departments.
The funds are earmarked for programs that help small business, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, social services including mental health and food banks, as well as EMS and volunteer fire companies.
Sixty Pennsylvania counties who have not yet received funds directly from the federal government are on the receiving list for an allocation of $635 million.
Rep. David Millard (R-Columbia) announced that, based on population, Columbia County would receive $5,866,824 in appropriated funds.
“These are truly unprecedented times in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. Businesses are suffering, people are scared, and the future is uncertain. These funds will go a long way in providing much-needed relief, and hopefully some peace of mind, for everyone being affected by this pandemic,” said Millard.
Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-Northumberland/Snyder) announced that, based on population, Northumberland and Snyder counties would receive $11,849,876 in appropriated funds.
Funds will be allocated across various state agencies and departments to provide government services throughout the state. Highlights include $225 million for a Statewide Small Business Assistance Program; $632 million for nursing homes, long-term care and personal care; $20 million for food assistance programs; $260 million to help those with intellectual disabilities; and $50 million for volunteer fire companies and emergency medical service (EMS) companies.
Thanking partners in the U.S. House and Senate, House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said. “This pandemic has challenged our first responders, threatened our food supply and been especially hurtful to our seniors.”
“Since the beginning of this crisis our nursing homes and long-term living facilities have faced the greatest hardship with this disease,” Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) said. “This bill will provide critical resources that will help turn the tide in the battle against this pandemic. Our senior population has been shown to be the most vulnerable to this illness.”
Pennsylvania received these funds from the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This act provides necessary emergency relief to Americans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Bill 1108 has been approved by both chambers of the Legislature and is now awaiting the governor’s signature.
Additionally, Senate Bill 1122 creates the COVID-19 Crisis Fire and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program with funding coming from the CARES Act.
“These additional grant funds offer a much-needed lifeline to our first responders who have been on the front lines of fighting back against COVID-19 over the last several months,” Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) said. “In addition to the added expenses they have faced, the stay-at-home orders and other mitigation measures virtually wiped out their fundraising options.
“Too many of these life-saving organizations were already at risk of closing their doors before the pandemic happened. We need to move forward with distributing these funds as soon as possible,” he added.
Under the bill, the funds would be distributed as follows: $44 million for grants to eligible fire companies and $6 million for grants to eligible EMS companies.
The grants would be administered by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) in a manner similar to how funds were provided under the Fire Company Grant Program and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program, respectively. Eligible companies that did not apply for or receive a fire and EMS grant in fiscal year 2019-20 would be required to submit an application for this funding.