Giddings jfac rental assistance

Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, left, questions Alex Adams, Gov. Brad Little's budget director, and Brady Ellis of IHFA, who was testifying remotely, during a Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.

Idaho has been awarded $200 million for emergency rental assistance under the newly enacted COVID-19 relief bill. Alex Adams, Gov. Brad Little’s budget director, told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee today that the governor is proposing that lawmakers pass a supplemental appropriation to authorize the spending of the state’s share of the funds, a big chunk of which already have arrived.

In anticipation of the funding, Little had proposed a $110 million supplemental appropriation, which would authorize starting to expend the funds during the current year, Adams said, but that was because local governments with at least 200,000 population could claim direct shares of the state’s allotment. Canyon and Ada counties and the city of Boise all met that standard. However, “It is my understanding that Canyon has chosen not to participate,” Adams said. “Boise city has applied and it was the intent of Ada to apply.” That means the money that otherwise would have gone directly to Canyon County went into the state’s share, which still could be used in that county as well as elsewhere; Idaho has received $164.2 million. “It’s a federal grant for a very specific purpose,” Adams said.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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