Governor's Update - December 24, 2021

During Thursday’s briefing, Gov. Justice took time to provide a detailed breakdown of the State’s allocation of remaining discretionary funds appropriated to the state by Congress through the CARES Act.

Previous allocations of CARES Act dollars resulted in a remaining balance of approximately $122.8 million.

The remaining funds have now been allocated as follows:

• Nursing program: $48 million

Announced on Tuesday, this program will improve and expand nursing education, retention, and recruitment in the state.

• Back-to-Work initiative: $22 million

This money will be transferred to Workforce West Virginia to stand up a back-to-work program. More details will be announced soon.

• Emergency Management Crisis Fund: $10 million

This fund will be created at DHHR and provide resources that will help all first responders across our state.

• Support for food pantries/homeless shelters: $7.25 million

Support includes $5,000 being provided to each of West Virginia’s 600 food banks, plus $1 million to each of the state’s two largest food banks – Facing Hunger Food Bank and Mountaineer Food Bank – to provide resources to better serve those facing food insecurity. Another $500,000 will go to the West Virginia National Guard’s Rock Branch emergency food bank facility for the purchase of a large-scale combination cooler and freezer that will allow for proper cold storage.

Additionally, $250,000 will be provided to each of the following organizations to help citizens find shelter, food, and medical care:

• Union Mission (Charleston)

• Clarksburg Mission (Clarksburg)

• Huntington City Mission (Huntington)

• Martinsburg Union Rescue Mission (Martinsburg)

• Bluefield Union Mission (Bluefield)

• Union Mission of Fairmont | WV Rescue Ministries (Fairmont)

• Faith Mission Homeless Shelter (Hurricane)

• Salvation Army Potomac Division: $6 million

• Funding will go to the Salvation Army Potomac Division, serving Raleigh, Wyoming, Fayette, Greenbrier, Nicholas, Webster, and Pocahontas counties to help expand their programs and provide basic necessities, food, and shelter to citizens in need.

• Shepherd University research program: $500,000

This will fund a new, cutting-edge program that will aim to reduce the impact of deadly diseases such as COVID-19, and will also help with pain treatment to help fight the ongoing opioid crisis.

• Remote work facilities: $3 million

This funding will go to WVU to help expand remote work facilities across West Virginia, which will be open to the public and have free WiFi available.

• West Virginia State Fairgrounds: $1.5 million

Due to the pandemic, the use of this facility has been expanded to include COVID-19 response activities at their mass vaccination location in Greenbrier County. These funds will provide additional resources to support this effort.

• West Virginia Game Changers: $2 million

This funding will go toward the WV Game Changer program, which has been vital during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the increase in drug use. WV Game Changers is a student-powered, substance misuse prevention movement, connecting West Virginia students and the educators who care about them through a coordinated, comprehensive prevention education program.

• West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources: $2.7 million

Pandemic-related costs, such as COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution.

• Do it for Babydog Vaccination Sweepstakes: $1.3 million

Additional Do it for Babydog: Save a Life, Change your Life vaccination incentive sweepstakes funds.

• Administrative costs: $3.3 million

COVID-19-related administrative costs.

• Additional eligible COVID-19 costs for state agencies: $15.2 million

These funds will go to state agencies to recover costs for frontline employees who have served tirelessly throughout the entirety of the pandemic.

“We’ve decided to put the money in buckets that can help West Virginia in every single way. We’ve tried to spread it out all across our state and I think we’ve achieved that,” Gov. Justice said. “West Virginia continues to do the right stuff with this funding. We’ve pushed the right buttons time and time again.”