$29 million in grants available for essential workers and first responders

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A $29 million program has been launched to help support essential workers and first responders during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Empire Pandemic Response Reimbursement Fund will provide up to $1,000 in reimbursements per household.

Eligible workers and families can apply to be reimbursed for: out-of-pocket childcare, transportation, lodging and other qualifying expenses that enabled workers to perform their duties during the pandemic.

While announcing the program’s launch, Governor Andrew Cuomo said it will: “provide critical funding to those individuals and families still struggling from the pandemic and help them get back on their feet as we continue our transition to a new normal.”

“From the early, dark days of this pandemic, our essential workers have been on the front lines risking their health and safety every day to keep this state running.

They took care of us and it is now time for us to take care of them. This grant program will provide critical funding to those individuals and families still struggling from the pandemic and help them get back on their feet as we continue our transition to a new normal.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo

First responders, health care, and many multi-industry workers are among those who qualify for the grant. Workers should be referred by employers, unions or social service providers who can verify employment during the COVID emergency. Supporting documentation for eligible expenses that have not been reimbursed by another source is also required.

Eligibility is also dependent on income. The applicant’s household income must be less than $125,470, which is five times the federal poverty level for a family of four.

Grants are available on a first come, first serve basis until the funding – which currently stands at $29 million – is exhausted.

The funding is the result of private donations from individuals, charitable trusts and businesses made during the COVID crisis.

Details on the exact application process have not been released, NEWS10 has reached out to both the Governor’s Office and the Office of Children and Family Services for clarification.

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