(The Center Square) — Georgia is giving more than $62.4 million in federal COVID relief money to groups fighting homelessness and housing insecurity worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state is allocating American Rescue Plan and State Fiscal Recovery Fund dollars to the 20 projects receiving money.
The allocations include $5 million for the Ebenezer Building Foundation. According to IRS records, the group helps “the Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resources Collaborative through financial support and administrative services for its properties.”
The foundation’s address is listed at the same address as Ebenezer Baptist Church, where U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, is the senior pastor.
In the 2020 federal tax filing, “Rev Raphael Gamaliel Warnock Ph D” was listed as the foundation’s principal officer. According to records on file with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, Warnock is not listed as an officer with the organization.
Andrew Isenhour, a spokesman for Kemp, a Republican, said Warnock’s “affiliation as pastor of Ebenezer had no bearing on how the project was scored and whether it received an award.”
State officials said they chose projects following a competitive application process. Kemp said he plans to allocate additional awards “in the coming weeks” and has trickled out news of federal money disbursements leading up to November’s election.
“Those who were already homeless faced even greater difficulties, with many already struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues,” Kemp said in a statement. “By investing these funds in those who are already making a difference around our state on these fronts, we will provide those most in need with resources that will aid them on the road to personal and financial recovery.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor