WASHINGTON — Federal money is starting to trickle in to the Aloha State after Congress passed a historic $2.2 trillion spending deal to address the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 5,000 people in the U.S. and resulted in millions of people losing their jobs.

On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and Congressman Ed Case both announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released more than $12 million in grants for Hawaii and its counties, that’s mostly dedicated to affordable housing.

Cars line up along Ilalo Street for COVID-19 testing at Kakaako Waterfront Park. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

The money can also be used, in certain cases, to expand community health facilities, food banks and child care services as well as purchase personal protective equipment to protect service providers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars will also be used to help house people with HIV and AIDS.

“The coronavirus pandemic has stretched resources thin for families and communities across the country,” Hirono said in a written statement.

“This funding is a critical early step in protecting and providing resources for some of our most at-risk populations. I will continue my advocacy to ensure that future coronavirus relief packages prioritize workers, families, and the most vulnerable.”

Case pointed out in his own statement that the funds were coming to the state less than one week after Congress passed the relief bill, known as the CARES Act.

By moving quickly on passing the legislation, Case said, “Congress aimed to get desperately needed emergency assistance distributed throughout the country as soon as possible to help our communities deal with this pandemic on all levels.”

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