The Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee is scheduled to take up the request at its meeting Friday. (Dana Wormald | New Hampshire Bulletin)
State officials managing COVID-19 relief funds are looking to invest $39.5 million in unused aid in food, shelter, and long-term care services.
The Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee is scheduled to take up the request at its meeting Friday.
Taylor Caswell, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Relief and Recovery, told committee members in his written request that he wants to transfer money primarily from personnel and contract expenses tied to other federal aid projects that have ended. His office could not be immediately reached Tuesday.
Of that, up to $3.2 million would allow the New Hampshire Food Bank and its partner agencies to expand food storage capacity to meet increased demand they’ve seen as a result of pandemic-related job losses. In 2020, the food bank distributed more than 17.7 million pounds of food with the help of volunteers who logged 15,555 hours, according to its website. In 2019, it distributed 14.2 million pounds of food.
Long-term care facilities would get up to $11.5 million to implement safety protocols against COVID-19 as recommended by federal and state health officials. Homeless shelters and senior centers would get up to $6 million and $4 million, respectively, to do the same.
That money is a fraction of what the state has received in federal pandemic aid. Much of it has gone to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education to address the COVID-19 public health crisis and its impact on schools and learning. Some of it has supported investments that may seem less obviously connected to the pandemic.
Fish and Game, which saw a significant uptick in sales for hunting and fishing licenses and calls for help from hikers in trouble, has received $622,000 to process permit requests and buy two boats, motors, and trailers. And the Department of Transportation has received $8 million for work at airports around the state.
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