March 20, 2020

Warren, Mass. Lawmakers Urge Congress to Include Funding for Community Development Block Grant in COVID-19 Stimulus

Critical Funding Will Help Local Governments Provide Services During Unprecedented Pandemic

Text of the Letter (PDF)

Boston, MA - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Representatives Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01), James P. McGovern (D-MA-02), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-08), William Keating (D-MA-09), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA-04), Katherine Clark (D-MA-05), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07) and Lori Trahan (D-MA-03), sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to include robust funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program in the COVID-19 stimulus package currently being debated in Congress.

"This critical program will help mayors and local governments throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the rest of the nation continue to provide vital services to their communities during this unprecedented crisis," the lawmakers wrote.

The CDBG program is one of the Federal government's most effective means to provide resources to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income communities across the nation. CDBG funding supports homeownership, housing rehabilitation, infrastructure improvements, and economic development projects in addition to expanding investment in local economies. Every $1 of CDBG funding leverages another $4.09 in additional public and private investments. CDBG funds are distributed to localities through a broad network of local organizations, such as nonprofits and community groups, that provide vital services and resources for families and neighborhoods.

"Cities and local governments will be on the front lines when addressing the spread of COVID-19, and their revenues will take a significant hit as a result of the lost economic activity due to the crisis," the lawmakers continued. "The inclusion of CDBG funds will allow cities to provide these and other services without having to cut off access to vital public services, including public safety, water, sewer, solid waste, and municipal electricity--cuts that would only exacerbate the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable communities."

Senator Warren has also called for a $750 billion economic stimulus package that would focus on recovery from the grassroots up, not Wall Street down. Such a package would apply lessons from the 2008 bailout and provide direct help to families harmed by the coronavirus outbreak, including universal paid leave, increasing Social Security benefits by $200 a month, broad cancellation of student loan debt, and protecting and expanding affordable housing.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Senator Warren has worked to ensure that the Trump Administration is effectively responding to the outbreak and that the U.S. has the resources needed to address this threat. Her ongoing efforts include urging Vice President Pence to take swift, specific action to support Massachusetts and other states as they combat the spread of COVID-19; introducing legislation that would generate an estimated $10 billion in funding for coronavirus efforts by shifting funding from President Trump's border wall; urging the Trump Administration and the largest trade associations for landlords to suspend evictions for renters during the pandemic; calling on President Trump to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to convert or construct new temporary medical facilities nationwide; and asking the CEOs of the U.S.-based "Too Big to Fail" banks how they are preparing to mitigate the economic risks of the outbreak.