The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is providing additional support to individuals, families, and businesses struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board voted today to reallocate federal CARES Act dollars to support local food banks at a time of increased demand and to provide utility assistance to individuals who are behind on electric and gas bills. The Board also voted to expand two successful programs established earlier this summer which provide financial assistance to renters and small business owners respectively.
“Maricopa County has been innovative and dogged in addressing the public health emergency. Not only have we implemented new strategies and initiatives which have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the spread of COVID 19 and have lessened the burden on the local healthcare system, we’ve also been able to assist individuals and businesses facing financial hardship,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman, District 4. “Now that we better understand what’s working and what’s needed, we can put federal dollars where they can do the most good.”
It has been just three months since the Board of Supervisors approved a wide-ranging plan to spend nearly $400 million in CARES Act funds. Since then, County departments and partners have jumped into action, making a significant difference in combating the virus and addressing the economic fallout from it. Today, the Board of Supervisors approved adjustments to how some of that money will be spent, with fewer dollars now allocated for county services and more going to individuals, families, and businesses.
Today’s vote expands two established programs:
- An additional $40 million for the Small Business Relief Program: Recognizing the need to support local businesses and non-profits during an unprecedented time, the Board of Supervisors allocated CARES Act funds to design and launch a grant program to reimburse organizations for losses incurred during the pandemic. When the first version of the program saw fewer applicants than expected, the Board redesigned the program to ensure more small business and non-profits could benefit. To date, the County has awarded more than $14 million in grants, with nearly $12 million coming in the past month after the program was re-launched. Today’s vote makes a total of $63 million in small business grant money available. Interested businesses and non-profits can see a list of qualifications and apply at azfoundation.org/MaricopaRelief.
- An additional $6.25 million for the COVID Crisis Rental Assistance Program: In a matter of weeks this summer, the Human Services Department designed and launched a rental assistance program that makes it easier for people affected by the COVID-19 emergency to apply for and get help paying their rent. Since the program began on July 15, more than 1,000 households have received a combined 2,234 months (or $3.3 million) of paid rent, with another $2.3 million set to be distributed soon. The Board’s vote today increased the amount of funding available for this program from $30 million to more than $36 million. You can check eligibility, apply for assistance, and upload documents at maricopa.gov/CovidRentHelp.
Today’s Board action also reallocates CARES Act funds to assist individuals and families:
- $6 million for utility assistance
- $3 million to support local food banks
More information about these efforts will be released in the coming weeks.
“This Board will do whatever it takes to protect community health and safety and to support economic recovery” said Hickman. “We are grateful that we have federal CARES Act dollars available to help defeat this virus and ensure Maricopa County returns stronger.”
Maricopa County received $399 million from the U.S. Treasury as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The purpose of this money is to cover expenditures related to the public health emergency that were not already included in fiscal year 2020 budget.