The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has set aside $11.6 million for the Central Valley — including $4.7 million for Kern County — to support people without a home or are at risk of being put out onto the street because of hardships relating to the coronavirus crisis.

The agency's award of Emergency Solutions Grants was announced Wednesday by Rep. T.J. Cox, D-Fresno, who said homelessness has only worsened during the pandemic.

“Now, many working families are facing the grim reality of losing their homes," Cox said in a news release, "and the (federal stimulus) CARES Act, which we passed in March, is proving to be a lifeline keeping them off the street.”

The ESG money is intended to widen access to emergency shelters and other temporary housing, as well as pay for essential services and supplies.

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