$355 MILLION HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES CORONAVIRUS RECOVERY PACKAGE ADVANCES

17 June 2020

For Immediate Release

June 17, 2020

 

Contact: Katherine Levasseur

(802) 828-2245

KLevasseur@leg.state.vt.us

 

$355 MILLION HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES CORONAVIRUS RECOVERY PACKAGE ADVANCES

 

MONTPELIER, VT - The Vermont House today advanced an additional $300 million Coronavirus Health and Human Services Recovery bill. The passage of H.965 makes the total Health and Human Services Coronavirus Recovery package nearly $355 million to date, consisting of:

 

  • $300,000,000 in H.965, the Coronavirus Health and Human Services Recovery Bill

  • $42,215,143 in the Joint Fiscal Committee and Administration allocated funds1

  • $10,200,000 for the Brattleboro Retreat allocated by the Joint Fiscal Committee2

  • $2,450,000 for Adult Day Providers in the Quarter One Budget3

  • = $354,865,143 in total. 

 

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero) said, “the demand at the Foodbank regional food distribution events over the last months has been astounding. We cannot ignore the kind of demand that causes Vermonters to line up in their cars in the middle of the night and the suppliers to run out of food. We must ensure Vermonters' very basic needs are met in this unprecedented time, and that starts with ensuring that there is food available, especially to our most vulnerable. The $300 million package passed today includes an essential investment in food security by appropriating $18 million for the Vermont Foodbank, school meals, and senior meals. We recognize this is a shift from the Governor’s priorities in this package, but we cannot allow our neighbors to be hungry. We know that food insecurity already affected over 11% of Vermonters pre-pandemic4 and that 1 in 4 Vermonters rely on food shelves or meal services for assistance5. The economic impact of the pandemic is being felt deeply by Vermonters and we must do our best to assist them in this time of great need.”

 

“This package also has nearly $13 million in assistance for childcare, with money for summer programs and after school, both of which are critical economic investments for Vermonters and their businesses as parents return to work,” added Human Services Committee Chair, Representative Ann Pugh (D-South Burlington). “Our already-fragile childcare system was severely impacted by the economic outcomes of COVID-19. This investment is on top of the $50 million allocated to child care providers by the state in March and April. In order to return to work, parents need access to care for their children. With the closure of so many camp programs, school programs, and the slowed re-opening of child care centers, this commitment to Vermont families is essential to getting our economy back on track.”

 

House Health Care Committee Chair, Representative Bill Lippert (D-Hinesburg) added, “COVID-19 exposed even more of the cracks in our fragile mental health system. Between necessary social distancing, economic insecurity, and the loss of the social fabric that keeps us mentally healthy, Vermonters are suffering. That is why the House included a million dollars in targeted funds to save lives through this trying time. This money will support suicide prevention and a 24-hour peer warm line. This investment can quite literally save lives by connecting Vermonters to help when they need it the most.”

 

1See page 8 for the breakdown of the $42 million.

2See page 6 of the report from the Agency of Human Services. This appropriation was approved at the June 15th Joint Fiscal Committee Meeting.

3See Sec.A.49(a)15 of H.961.

4See Feeding America website.

5See Vermont Foodbank website. 

 

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