The NCSL Blog


By Margaret Wile

Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, HR 748, that includes $2.2 trillion in funding to address the health, human services, educational and economic impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

coronavirus redThe law will provide $150 billion in direct aid to states, territories, local and tribal governments. Of that $150 billion at least $8 billion will go to tribal governments and at least $3 billion to the District of Columbia and the territories.

The bill also provides funds to state and local governments through 50-plus other federal programs. NCSL has released a summary of major provisions included in this legislation and developed a resource page of funding and daily announcements from the federal government.

Some of the bill’s health-related provisions also clarify and update previous provisions from the second emergency surplus package (HR 6201). Read more on the health provisions included below, and check out more details on the bill.

Several human services-related provisions are included in the new law, including funding for:

  • $6.3 billion overall to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).
    • Of that, $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to provide immediate assistance to child care providers. Funding for the CCDBG is to keep child care providers open, keep employees on payroll and prioritize the needs of health care, emergency and sanitation workers across the country.
  • $45 million in grants to states for child welfare services.
    • The law also includes a 6.2 percent increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for Title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance and kinship guardianship assistance payments for states.
  • $45 million to family violence prevention and services, including for family violence shelters and $2 million for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
  • $955 million for the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to provide resources for aging and disability services programs including senior nutrition, home- and community-based supportive services, family caregivers, elder justice and independent living.
  • $1 billion to the Community Services Block Grant to help local community-based organizations that provide a wide range of social services and emergency assistance.

Housing and homeless issues were also a focus in the most recent bill, including provisions to support low- and middle-income renters and individuals with federally backed mortgages. In the wake of Congress passing the CARES Act, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson issued a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for the next 60 days.

Highlights around housing funding and human services housing and homelessness programs include:

  • $12 billion in funding for (HUD) with that funding going to:
    • $5 billion for the Community Development Block Grants.
    • $4 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants.
    • $1.25 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program.
    • $1 billion for project-based rental assistance.
    • $685 million for the Public Housing Operating Fund.
    • $65 million for housing opportunities for persons with AIDS.
    • $50 million for housing for the elderly.
    • $15 million for housing for persons with disabilities.
  • $25 million for the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) to provide immediate assistance to programs providing services and housing for runaway and homeless youth.
  • $900 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help families and provide assistance in managing costs associated with home energy bills, energy crises, and weatherization and energy-related minor home repairs.

Several existing human services programs that were due to be reauthorized in May were included for reauthorization in this legislation as well, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a program that provides services and financial support to low-income individuals and families, and two programs under the TANF umbrella—the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics Demonstration Program and Health Professional Opportunity Grants (HPOGs). All three programs were reauthorized through Nov. 30, 2020.  

TANF was reauthorized at 2019 levels, HPOGs were provided extended funding to ensure grantees can finish out this round of grant cycles, and the community behavioral health clinics were appropriated for at least $250 million.

Margaret Wile is a policy director in NCSL's Health and Human Service Program in NCSL's State-Federal Relations Division. 

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.