The Omnibus Appropriations Bill included a modest $10 million increase to $3.75 billion in the final 2021 appropriations package. The bill retains a hold-harmless formula, which will not affect Ohio’s allocation.
Advocates had been asking for between a $4.5 and a $10 billion increase to meet projected needs, either in the regular appropriations bill or in the pandemic relief package. The additional funds were not included in either provision.
The pandemic package did include $25 billion for rental assistance, which can also be used for utility bill payment assistance – water, gas, and electric. In addition, Congress authorized and funded and new bill payment assistance program for water and sewage bill. Funding was set at $638 million, and is intended to operate similarly to HEAP. More to come on that provision.
An additional pandemic package has been proposed by President-Elect Biden. No information on what will be included in future legislation.