CONCORD — Services for children, substance abuse and mental illness sufferers and veterans share the latest round of grants totaling $18 million for dealing with COVID-19, Gov. Chris Sununu announced Tuesday.
“We are always trying to identify new areas of need,” Sununu said.
The money comes from the federal CARES Act that Congress passed last March, giving New Hampshire a $1.2 billion block grant.
Sununu has now approved spending about three-quarters of that block grant.
The Democratically-led Legislature sued Sununu, contending he lacked the authority to spend the money without its permission. A lower court judge declined to issue an immediate injunction against Sununu and the case faces a trial on the merits later this year.
The grant for youth programs totals $5 million. Sununu said $2 million of it will be given to the Governor’s Youth Council to support help for teens who abuse drugs.
“This is not something you can just ignore,” Sununu said. “We know when faced with social isolation … they can turn to self-medicating with illicit drugs.”
He also earmarked $1 million to the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children and the other $2 million to be given to existing social service programs such as the Boys Clubs and Girls Inc., Sununu said.
Sununu said $6 million will go for mental health and substance abuse programs for adults.
Programs that help veterans would get $7 million.
The final grant would be split between housing and anti-homelessness programs, local organizations such as American Legions and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapters and mental health supports.
“We don’t want these folks getting lost in our midst,” Sununu added.