City of Houston establishes coronavirus disaster fund

Houston City Council has established a COVID-19 account for its coronavirus response. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Houston City Council has established a COVID-19 account for its coronavirus response. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

Houston City Council has established a COVID-19 account for its coronavirus response. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

A COVID-19 disaster fund aimed at managing the city of Houston’s coronavirus response got its start April 1 with a $5 million infusion from the city’s economic stabilization fund.

"Anything that is COVID-19-related is how those funds will be used, and we do expect all those funds to be reimbursable," Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

In March, the city declared a state of disaster, which clears red tape for certain processes, such as securing bids for equipment and leases. It also makes those expenses easier to identify for federal reimbursements, Turner said.

Houston City Council approved the transfer April 1, along with a purchase of $64,000 worth of hand sanitizer and two hotel leases for quarantine sites reserved for homeless residents and first responders.

In May, Houston will begin its fiscal year 2020-21 budget process, which will be further strained by lower sales tax revenue and emergency demands, Houston City Controller Chris Brown said.
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


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