COLUMBUS — The state Controlling Board on Monday approved $306 million in funds to aid Ohio’s response to the health and economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as programs addressing mental health and homeless crises.
“We know people in the Mahoning Valley are struggling to make ends meet. Every start of the month is filled with worry and whether they can feed their kids or make rent on time,” state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown, said in a news release. “These funds to reimburse schools, address housing and mental health will make an important difference, but we must keep pushing for more.”
Funding items approved by lawmakers Monday include:
- $150 million to the Ohio Department of Education to reimburse schools for meals provided to students over the summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and an additional $8.6 million to support funding to Joint Vocational School Districts and $2.2 million to support students with Individualized Education Programs;
- $87.5 million to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to fund the Ohio State Opioid Response Project;
- $30 million for local health departments to address the rise in COVID-19 cases;
- $9.1 million for the Supportive Housing Program, and $14.3 million for the Homelessness Crisis Response Program to help reduce homelessness in Ohio;
- $3 million to the Department of Medicaid to assist nursing homes in keeping their residents safe during the pandemic;
- $1.6 million to the Department of Youth Services to administer a Justice Assistance award sub-granted through the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services while following COVID-19 safety protocols.