Committee OK’s Grant Program to Help Human Service Agencies Recover from Pandemic

HARRISBURG – Chaired by Senator John Yudichak (I-14), the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee took action on a bill today that would help Pennsylvania’s community based nonprofit organizations recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Introduced by Senator Judy Ward (R-30), Senate Bill 594 aims to create a new statewide competitive grant program for human service organizations that were adversely impacted by the Coronavirus.

As part of the legislation, eligible organizations include childcare centers, health clinics, substance abuse treatment facilities, domestic violence operations, food banks and, among other entities, workforce training centers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has cost lives, closed businesses, disrupted our children’s education, and hurt many of the non-profit organizations that are always there for us and our communities in our time of need,” said Yudichak. “Senate Bill 594 is a bipartisan piece of legislation that will provide a lifeline to more than 8,500 nonprofit organizations that provide critical services to our state residents – it is an important stimulus package to help these groups recover and prosper.”

After the unanimous committee vote Tuesday, the bill advances to the full Senate for consideration.

The bill would create the Nonprofit Economic Emergency Delivery System (NEEDS) Grant program, supplemented with new federal funding.

“The NEEDS Grants Program would provide much-needed funding for eligible community-based human services nonprofit organizations that have suffered during the COVID-19 crisis either by closure, increased need for services or loss of revenue,” said Senator Ward, noting that the program would “dedicate $200 million of the federal American Rescue Plan funding the Commonwealth received to help these programs that are vital to the health of our communities.”

“These organizations depend on outside funding sources in order to help our neighbors in need,” continued Ward. “Without these groups, there would be no way to provide critical services such as food, shelter, medical treatment and workforce training to the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians.”

WATCH: Senate Committee takes action on SB594.

CONTACT: spitzer@pasen.gov.