Essex County will offer $1 million in grant funding to support shelter operations and street outreach activities to prevent homelessness.

The funds are targeted to help shelters and community-based agencies that have been providing homeless prevention services during the pandemic. The application deadline is Monday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. The application can be accessed at the Essex County website by clicking on the “2021 Essex County COVID-19 Assistance Grant for Homeless Prevention” link.

“Shelters and community-based organizations play a major role in providing a safety net for our vulnerable communities and that role was magnified during the pandemic," Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. said in a county press release. "This grant program will help agencies that expanded their services or saw an increased demand for support during these unprecedented times."

The grants will cover costs incurred due to the pandemic that are beyond the base cost required to operate a shelter or provide outreach services. The activities must have contributed to helping stop the spread of the virus, reduce the risk of exposure to the virus and mitigate the social, economic and public health impacts caused by the pandemic.

Examples of eligible expenses include, but are not limited to, purchasing personal protective equipment, providing hand-washing stations or portable toilets in and around shelters, installing plexiglass separators, training providers and staff on infectious disease prevention, transporting homeless individuals to medical appointments, providing legal services and providing temporary housing in hotels or motels. Permanent housing in hotels or motels is not an accepted use.

Grant funds can be used to reimburse COVID-related expenses since Oct. 1, 2020, and to cover future anticipated eligible expenses.

Funding for this grant is through the Emergency Solutions Grant program and comes from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The Essex County Office of Housing and Community Development is administering the grant process.