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New, expanded Coronavirus Relief Program provides greater assistance opportunities to Tribal citizens and businesses

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation legislature voted in September to expand CARES Act programs. Phase III of the program includes new assistance for Tribal citizens as well as updates to previous programs.

New programs in Phase III include a program to help off set increased expenses due to COVID-19 and a foreclosure and eviction program.

“More than 65 percent of the funds CPN received from Treasury will go directly to Citizen Potawatomi member support programs,” said CPN Tribal Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett. “We will keep responding to the needs of our Tribe for as long as we are able – until we run out of this money.”

New Programs

The COVID-19 Foreclosure and Eviction Prevention Program will provide eligible Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal members, not living in Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Housing, with a one-time payment of up to $3,000 to help prevent eviction or foreclosure. This program is limited to one assistance payment per household in which one or more tribal members eligible for this assistance reside. Payments will be made directly to the landlord or mortgage lender.

The COVID-19 Related Expenses Program provides up to $500 to Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal members who are over 18 years old and who have had expenses related to the COVID-19 emergency. Expenses must have been incurred from March 1, 2020, through Dec. 30, 2020. Expenses may not include any expense attributable to debt on an asset such as a home or vehicle loan, or to any other type of loan repayment, and may not include any expense barred by federal law, the Nation’s law, or these regulations. Expenses may not include expenses addressed or reimbursed by other forms of Federal, State, or local assistance or by assistance from the Nation, whether from this Relief Fund or from other sources.

Updated Programs

The COVID-19 Income Loss Support Program, previously the Individual Program, has been adjusted due to changes in guidelines released by the U.S. Treasury. This relief provides up to $1,200 to Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal members who have experienced loss of income/employment due to COVID-19. To qualify, tribal members will be required to provide proof that they have been furloughed without pay or unemployed and attest that they have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

Citizen Potawatomi traditions revere elders, and as a testament to these foundational beliefs, CPN elected officials voted to lower the age restrictions for the Elder Food Security Program and the Elder Housing Assistance Program from 65 to 60. The food assistance program provides $200 grocery allowance per eligible Tribal member per month through December 2020. The housing program provides payments of up to $500 per month for three months to elders who are behind on rent or mortgage payments.

Updated Education Programs

Education is another area that is vitally important to the future of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and its citizens. Updates to existing programs seek to provide greater access to CPN member students through the COVID-19 Student Assistance Fund, COVID-19 Technology Program, Post-Secondary Assessment Grant and COVID-19 Post-Secondary Technology and Student Support Program.

The COVID-19 Student Assistance Fund will provide eligible Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal member parents with a one-time $300 allowance, per eligible Citizen Potawatomi Nation dependent, that may be utilized for school clothes, masks and other necessary school supplies needed to respond to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

The COVID-19 Technology Program is offered to equip all school age Citizen Potawatomi Nation children with technology tools, such as laptops and internet access, that will better enable distance learning necessitated by COVID-19. Eligible applicants would receive a one-time $400 allowance per eligible Citizen Potawatomi Nation dependent.

The COVID-19 ACT/SAT Assistance Program will provide eligible Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal members with the opportunity to receive up to $100 in a one-time reimbursement online prep and/or test fees for the ACT, SAT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, DAT, PCAT, or OAT. Students must be enrolled in a prep program or scheduled to take an assessment for the indicated exams from March 1, 2020 through Dec. 30, 2020.

The COVID-19 Post-Secondary Assessment Grant will provide eligible Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal members with a one-time $1,150 support grant that may be utilized for costs related to housing insecurity and overcrowding, online fees, extra travel costs, lost wages, professional consulting, tutoring and technology expenses due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The program is structured to award $400 tied to technology and $750 tied to the remaining hardship categories.

More Information

Other programs include the Disability Food Security Program, which provides a $200 grocery stipend to Tribal members who are enrolled in the Social Security Disability Program and the Business Interruption Grant for Tribal member-owned business, which provides up to $5,000 in relief to businesses which have had negative financial impact due to COVID-19.

“If you think you do not need this support, please think of a Citizen Potawatomi you know who might,” Barrett added. “Contact them, forward them this article, our biggest challenge is getting the word out to our members.”

To apply and get more information, visit potawatomi.org/cares.