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SAULT STE. MARIE, Michigan—On June 15, 2021, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Board of Directors voted to establish the COVID-19 Rescue Act Membership Assistance Program to protect the health and welfare of the Tribal membership and ensure reasonable resources are available to respond to negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Tribe’s COVID-19 Rescue Act Membership Assistance Program is established as a new program specifically designed to address the opportunity to distribute COVID-19 relief funds received by the Tribe under the American Rescue Plan Act, a separate act of federal legislation.

Following legal guidance and the Department of Treasury’s published guidance to date, the COVID-19 Rescue Act Membership Assistance Program establishes assistance grants in the amount of $2,000 for Tribal members who can demonstrate they have been impacted by COVID-19.

Assistance grants made under the Program are to be exclusively used to meet reasonable or necessary expenses which are incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible expenses shall include, but are not limited to, medical, housing, health related goods or services, food, transportation for medical appointments, funeral costs, and similar expenses.

A COVID-19 Rescue Act Membership Assistance Program application form must be completed by each Tribal member in order to be eligible to receive potential assistance through the Program. The forms are tentatively slated to be mailed out within the upcoming weeks and shall also be available electronically.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY