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DeWine shoots down false FEMA camp rumors

By The Center Square

COLUMBUS — Responding to what he called numerous phone calls and online rumors, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday neither the state nor federal government will force Ohioans into FEMA camps or housing.

At his twice-weekly COVID-19 news conference, DeWine said an Aug. 31 renewal order followed a March order that created an agreement between FEMA and Ohio for federal funding to cover housing costs in certain situations.

“Neither President Trump’s FEMA or the Ohio Department of Health are going to set up FEMA camps to make people stay against their will,” DeWine said. “This order creates a funding mechanism.”

An example of what the funding could cover, DeWine said, would be a health care worker in a COVID-19 environment who did not want to return home for fear of infecting a potentially compromised family member. The agreement would allow for the health care worker to stay at a hotel, with the federal government picking up the tab.

“Having quarantine housing options gives people a safe comfortable place to recover,” DeWine said.

DeWine also addressed the rumor the order allowed for the separation of children from their parents.

“I am aware there are rumors on the Internet that incorrectly claim these orders allow children to be separated from their parents. There is no truth to the rumors at all. Families will not be separated,” DeWine said.

DeWine also announced thousands of children who qualify for free or reduced meals and are learning remotely will soon receive additional money to buy food through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer.

In the spring, the state issued more than $250 million to more than 850,000 students. Later in September, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will distribute a second round of funding.

According to DeWine, parents do not need to apply. The benefits will be loaded on Ohio Direction cards or they will be mailed.