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News & Press: Updates for Members

October 15th Special Legislative Session Update

Tuesday, October 16, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Monday night, legislators passed Senate Bill 3, 2018 Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Act. This is the second special session legislators have called to address disaster relief efforts. Click here to read NASW-NC's update from the last special session on Thursday, October 4th!

 

Click here for a summary of the bill.

 

Provisions in the bill pertain to counties designated under a major disaster declaration by the President. Several highlights of the bill include:

Grants for postsecondary education: The bill creates the Hurricane Florence Emergency Grant Program for Postsecondary Students (Program) to provide emergency scholarship grants up to $1,250 per student to eligible postsecondary students who have suffered financial hardship due to the damage and destruction from Hurricane Florence. The funds are intended to help students continue higher education uninterrupted. (page 4 of the bill)


Funds are also available for students in private schools. $1,000,000 in nonrecurring funds was allocated to the State Education Assistance Authority (Authority) to provide funds to eligible private postsecondary institutions for the purpose of providing emergency scholarship grants to eligible postsecondary students in accordance with the Program mentioned above. (page 6 of the bill)


Behavioral Health Services
: Directs the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services to increase single-stream funding to LME/MCOs serving one or more federally declared disaster areas, to fund behavioral health services that are (i) for individuals residing in a federally declared disaster area who have been determined by the LME/MCO to be in need of these services as a result of Hurricane Florence, and (ii) not reimbursable under the Medicaid program. The bill further directs DHHS to manage, within the Medicaid budget, any Hurricane Florence-related increase in behavioral health services reimbursable under the Medicaid program for individuals residing in a federally declared disaster area. (page 7 of the bill)


Child Care Subsidies
: The bill allows the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child Development and Early Education to extend the transition period from 90 days to 120 days for a child care subsidy recipient who is otherwise eligible for child care subsidy and resides in an area damaged or impacted by Hurricane Florence if the recipient is (i) temporarily absent from employment, training, or an educational program with arrangements to continue the same employment, training, or educational program, (ii) unemployed but seeking employment, or (iii) no longer attending a training or educational program but is seeking employment or to resume attendance at a training or educational program. (page 8 of the bill)


Creation of a New Office
: The bill creates The Office of Recovery and Resiliency (Office) in the Department of Public Safety. The Office shall execute multi-year recovery and resiliency projects and administer funds provided by the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program. The Secretary may reassign up to 15 existing positions of the Division of Emergency Management to the Office. In addition, the Secretary may create up to 30 new three-year time-limited positions. The Office will provide general disaster recovery coordination and public information; citizen outreach and application case management; audit, finance, compliance, and reporting on disaster recovery funds; and program and construction management services. The Office shall also contract for services from vendors specializing in housing, construction, and project management services. (page 8 of the bill)


Housing
: the bill allows the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency to assist individuals and families with household incomes that equal, but do not exceed 100% of the local area's median income, adjusted for family size, pursuant to the most recent available data from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. This will allow them the ability to serve more individuals with various incomes and help build new construction or rehabilitate homes as needed. This provision also allows individuals impacted from Hurricane Matthew in 2016. (Page 14 of the bill)

 

At this time, legislators plan to reconvene the next legislative session on Tuesday, November 27th.

 

Find other NASW-NC updates at https://www.naswnc.org/news/!


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