During their May 16 meeting, the Hyattsville City Council approved a motion authorizing an expenditure of $1.2 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds for payments to individual Hyattsville residents.
The city has received a total of $17.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funds from the federal government.
One million of the allocated funds is earmarked for the individual relief payments. A nonprofit organization will oversee distribution of relief payments; up to $100,000 in ARPA funding will be dedicated to this program. The city also allocated $100,000 to outreach and relief payment application programs.
City residents who have experienced what the motion describes as “pandemic-related negative economic consequences” may be eligible for relief payments of $2,500 per adult individual and $1,250 per child, with a maximum of $5,000 in payments per household.
While the motion originally had payments for children set at $750, Councilmember Danny Schaible (Ward 2) moved to amend the motion to raise the child payment, after Councilmember Joanne Waszczak (Ward 1) raised concerns that single parents might not receive enough money.
City of Hyattsville American Rescue Plan Program Manager Patrick Paschall noted that residents would need to provide proof of residency and financial hardship. Residents could qualify if they make less than 300% of the federal poverty level ($79,500 for a family of four) or less than 65% of the county median income ($56,546 according to the U.S. Census Bureau), or if they live in a qualified census tract (two of which cover part of Hyattsville: one around the Mall at Prince George’s and one around the West Hyattsville Metro station). Residents could also show proof of unemployment or of increased food insecurity during the pandemic, or show that they qualify for aid programs such as Medicaid, Medicare Part B, federal programs supporting families with children (such as CHIP or WIC), or Pell grants.
Several councilmembers expressed concerns that the per-household cap might disadvantage qualified residents if two or more households shared an address. Paschall stressed that ARPA guidelines do not include the definition of household and that the city could factor in this kind of situation when defining a household.
The amended motion passed unanimously.