CARES Act Provides Additional Funds for Local Governments

by Aaron Thompson, on April 14, 2020 at 10:03 AM

Beyond direct assistance to local governments through FEMA’s Public Assistance Program and the Coronavirus Relief Fund, the CARES Act recently passed by Congress includes many other appropriations through programs frequently used by local governments. Below, we highlight some of these funds that your local government can potentially access.

Economic Development Administration

The US. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is the federal agency under the U.S. Department of Congress charged with promoting innovation and competitiveness alongside preparing the nation for growth and success worldwide.

Most frequently used by local governments at the EDA is the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program. The program, through either strategy or implementation grants, focuses on funding proposals that can build local economies toward the future. As COVID-19 will have lasting effects on our nation’s economy, Congress appropriated $1.5 billion in additional funds to this program.

To learn more about this program, contact the EDA Regional Office for your state. Each state has an assigned staffer to assist you with your application. To find your regional office, visit the EDA website.

Community Block Development Grant Program

Under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Community Block Development Grant (CDBG) Program is one of the most utilized funds for community related projects by local governments across the country.

Congress set aside $5 billion in the bill to support communities through the CDBG Program. According to a press release from HUD, $2 billion of these funds will go to support the following:

  1. Construct medical facilities for testing and treatment.
  2. Acquire a motel or hotel building to expand the capacity of hospitals to accommodate the isolation of patients during recovery.
  3. Replace HVAC systems to temporarily transform commercial buildings or closed school buildings into clinics or treatment centers.
  4. Support businesses manufacturing medical supplies.
  5. Construct a group living facility to centralize patients undergoing treatment.
  6. Carry out job training of health care workers and technicians who are available to treat disease within a community.

1,200 plus of the country’s larger communities receive a CDBG Allocation automatically as an entitlement community. Other smaller local governments must apply through a state based agency (typically through their governor’s office or local government agency).

$2 billion of the $5 billion allocated will be disbursed through this normal entitlement funding formula. Click here to see what your local government’s or your state’s allocation is. HUD will be releasing additional guidance on the remainder of CDBG funds as priorities related to the response are determined by the HUD Secretary.

Emergency Solutions Grant

Also under HUD, the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program provides funds to state and local governments to support emergency shelters and the homeless. The ESG Program received $4 billion in the CARES Act. Like the CDBG Program, larger metropolitan local governments receive funds automatically through an entitlement formula, other local governments can apply to their state government’s housing agency for funds.

HUD has identified the following as priorities in spending CARES Act ESG Funds:

  1. Build more emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families.
  2. Operate emergency shelters by providing maintenance, rent, repair, security, fuel, equipment, insurance, utilities, food, furnishings, and supplies necessary for the operation.
  3. Provide hotel/motel vouchers for homeless families or individuals.
  4. Provide essential services to people experiencing homelessness including childcare, education services, outreach, employment assistance, outpatient health services, legal services, mental health services, substance abuse treatment services, and transportation.
  5. Prevent individuals from becoming homeless and rapidly rehouse homeless individuals.

Click here to see your local or state government’s allocation. Like the CDBG Program, HUD will be releasing additional guidance on the remainder of ESG funds as priorities related to the response are determined by the HUD Secretary.

Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program

$850 million was allocated to support law enforcement agencies through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. According to the Department of Justice, the funds can be used to:

  1. Hire personnel.
  2. Pay overtime costs.
  3. Cover protective equipment and supplies.
  4. Address correctional inmates’ medical needs and defray expenses related to the distribution of resources to hard-hit areas.

Previous awarded communities are eligible to apply for these funds directly from the program here. If your community has received Byrne Grant Funds through a state law enforcement related agency, you must contact them to apply.

Click here to read more information about the funds available for public safety agencies.

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Topics:local governmentlocal leadershipazavarcovid-19localgovemergencycares actfederal governmentstate government