19 Apr CARES Act funds for our community
Much of the attention nationwide and in our GPP and Nonprofit Alliance webinars has been directed at the CARES Act’s $351 billion Paycheck Protection Program. Many Greenville County nonprofits did take advantage of this opportunity, and those that weren’t able to are hoping for more funding if congressional negotiations this week are successful.
But the $2 trillion CARES Act included an array of other programs and funding streams that should benefit Greenville County residents and nonprofits. Here’s what we know as of April 20, 2020 about these other parts of the CARES Act. Much of the information below is sourced from Mayer Brown’s states and localities COVID relief provisions page.
Coronavirus Relief Fund
The Coronavirus Relief Fund includes $150 billion for states, tribal governments, and local governments with populations exceeding 500,000. This fund is intended to cover necessary expenditures related to COVID-19 that were not accounted for in that government’s budget and are incurred between March 1 and December 30, 2020. It’s estimated that Greenville County will receive $91 million of these funds, and South Carolina (through Governor McMaster’s office) will receive $1.9 billion.
The Treasury Department has not yet released clear guidelines on what is eligible for these funds (in other words, what counts as a “necessary expenditure related to COVID-19”).
Unemployment Insurance Relief
Most of you know that unemployment benefits have been expanded to boost weekly payments by $600, waive the one-week waiting period to receive benefits, and extend benefits 13 weeks beyond when the state’s payments end, all of which has been provided through the CARES Act.
According to Mayer Brown, “The CARES Act additionally provides strong support to short-time compensation programs, where employers reduce hours instead of laying off workers and the employees’ unemployment benefits are reduced pro rata for the hours they continue to work.” We will be learning more about how/whether those provisions will be pursued in South Carolina.
Children and Families
Child Care and Development Block Grants to allow states to provide continued payments and assistance to child care providers in the case of decreased enrollment or closures related to COVID-19 and to assure they are able to remain open or reopen. States are encouraged to include conditions to their payments that ensure providers use a portion of the funds received to pay the salaries of wages and staff. These funds may also be used to provide child care assistance to healthcare employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers and other workers deemed essential in response to COVID-19.
Community Services Block Grants to combat poverty and provide social services and activities to low-income individuals and families are distributed through Community Action Agencies; SHARE is that entity in Greenville County. The CARES Act additionally provides a tweak to the Community Services Block Grant Act for services furnished under the act during fiscal years 2020 and 2021 to allow states the option to define the poverty line as 200% of the official poverty line. We will continue to learn more about this.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance grants have also been expanded to help low-income households affected by COVID-19 that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy. SHARE also administers that program here in Greenville County.
Head Start has been funded to operate supplemental summer programs to help reduce the effects of school closures on learning opportunities.
The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program was funded and any matching requirement waived to boost payments through the states for children in one’s care (foster care or group homes) during COVID.
Family Violence Prevention and Services formula grants will be available for the states to prevent domestic violence and provide shelter and support to victims, with any matching requirement waived.
The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act has received additional funding for programming, with any matching requirement waived.
Emergency Education Relief grants were made to the governor of each state to provide emergency support through grants to local education agencies, higher education institutions, and other education-related entities that the state deems most affected by COVID-19. Gov. McMaster’s grant amount is $47.3 million.
Elementary and secondary school emergency relief grants, to be awarded to each state educational agency with an approved application, and then largely subgranted to local educational agencies in the proportion those entities received funds under ESEA in the most recent fiscal year. These funds may be used for a number of COVID-19 and more general purposes, including broad authorization to use the funds for any activity authorized by ESEA. South Carolina’s award is $204 million.
Higher education institutions, with most funds apportioned 75% according to each institution’s relative share of full-time equivalent enrollment of Pell Grant recipients and 25% according to its relative share of full-time equivalent enrollment of students who were not Pell Grant recipients. The remaining funds will be used for additional awards for minority serving institutions and institutions the Education Secretary determines have the greatest unmet needs related to COVID-19. These funds are generally to be used by the institutions to cover costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to COVID-19; at least 50% of the funds are to be used for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the crisis.
Local educational agencies receiving these funds must provide equitable services to students and teachers in non-public schools. Any agency, state, institution of higher education, or other entity receiving these funds must, to the greatest extent practicable, continue to pay its employees and contractors during the period of any disruptions or closures related to COVID-19.
In addition to the funds described above, an additional $100 million was appropriated to Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence), to provide additional funds to help elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools pay for cleaning and disinfecting affected schools, counselling, and distance learning. Application-based grants are also available for education in states with the highest COVID-19 burden.
Housing and Economic Development
Community Development Block Grant funds are provided directly to the City of Greenville and Greenville County Redevelopment Authority.
Homeless Assistance Grants for the purpose of fighting COVID-19 among the homeless are administered by the county.
Tenant-based rental assistance is provided by local housing authorities, which also received operating funds
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program funding, is administered locally by the City of Greenville (with additional funding to the state of SC)
Veterans Affairs has grants for the construction of state extended care facilities for veterans, to be used for COVID-19-related purposes, including modifying or altering existing hospital, nursing home, and domiciliary facilities in state homes. Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs, during the course of the COVID-19 emergency, will continue to pay state homes per diem payments (regardless of whether they meet the occupancy rate or veteran percentage requirements), as well as provide state homes with medicines, personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and other assistance.
National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities has been funded, and 40% is to be distributed to state arts agencies, regional arts organizations, and state humanities councils (the SC Arts Commission in our state).
The Institute of Museum and Library Services was funded to provide grants to states to expand digital network access, purchase internet accessible devices, and provide technical support services.
Other Government and Public Health
State and local law enforcement agencies are funded to cover overtime pay for officers, personal protective equipment and supplies, and medical needs and supplies for inmates in state and local facilities. These funds will be awarded through the formula allocation used in fiscal year 2019 for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistant Grant program under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.
Election Assistance Commission is funded to help states address COVID-19-related challenges affecting the 2020 federal election, to be paid within 30 days after the date of enactment. Within 20 days of each election in the 2020 federal cycle in a state, the state must submit to the commission a report within 20 days of the election that includes a report of how that state’s uses of the payments allowed it to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. We will learn more about how these funds are used in South Carolina.
Dislocated Worker National Reserve, a program of the Department of Labor, was funded to allow states and communities to respond to COVID-19’s impact on workforce and layoffs.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was funded and includes grants to or cooperative agreements with states, localities, and other entities to carry out surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, infection control, mitigation, communications, and other preparedness and response activities. SCDHEC will receive at least $9.9 million based on last year’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness grant.
FEMA Disaster Relief Fund was funded and will including reimbursements to states and local governments under emergency and major disaster declarations.
Information comes out daily on these and other funds, and as we’ve reported in meetings, negotiations on CARES Act 3.5 and 4.0 are underway. Please let us know what you learn about CARES Act opportunities – including the need for advocacy by our philanthropic and nonprofit partners.