Columbus to offer federal COVID funds for those unable to pay rent

Columbus City Hall

The Columbus City Council on Monday accepted $26.8 million in federal money for rental assistance money that can be put toward new and existing COVID-related relief programs.

The council also approved spending $267.7 million for the “Lower Olentangy Tunnel Project,” launching what is believed to be the second-most-expensive municipal construction project in city history. Over the next five years, the city will bore a large tunnel 50 feet below ground to handle wastewater overflow.

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The new federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program made available $25 billion to assist households nationwide that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with funds going directly to states and local governments to administer. At least 90% must go toward direct financial assistance, including utility payments and home energy costs.