Juneau Assembly to consider more individual assistance grants for neediest residents

CBJ Pandemic relief checks
The City and Borough of Juneau cut checks like these to locals financially impacted by the pandemic in 2020. (Photo illustration by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

Hundreds more Juneau residents with applications pending for individual assistance grants may get paid soon.

At a meeting Thursday night, the Juneau Assembly is expected to put more money into a second phase of the program for lower-income residents financially hurt by the pandemic.

The Assembly initially put $2 million of the city’s portion of the federal CARES Act money into the program last year. It was enough to pay grants to about 1,070 people. Grants began at $1,000 but scaled up for residents with lower income and with children.

Without Assembly action, 1,180 more eligible people won’t get paid. The Assembly is taking up two measures to address this group.

One would put $700,000 more into the program.

The other splits off the remaining people into a second pool with more restrictive eligibility criteria and smaller payouts.

Assembly member Michelle Hale walked through the proposed changes in committee last week.

“It’s just trying to make the money go farther,” Hale said.

People who received the city’s housing assistance grant last year would become ineligible. Base grants would be half what they were in the first phase, ranging from $500 to $1,000. Each dependent child would still be worth an extra $300.

Also, payouts in the second phase would prioritize the lowest income applicants, instead of a first come, first served approach.

The Assembly is scheduled to hold a public hearing and final vote on the changes tonight. The virtual meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. You can participate through Zoom, or by calling in to 1-669-900-6833 or 1-253-215-8782 with the webinar ID 984 1200 4515.

The meeting will also be live streamed on the city’s Facebook page, here, and broadcast on KTOO.

Reporter Jeremy Hsieh has received the housing grant and applied for the individual assistance grant. 

Jeremy Hsieh

Local News Reporter, KTOO

I dig into questions about the forces and institutions that shape Juneau, big and small, delightful and outrageous. What stirs you up about how Juneau is built and how the city works?

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