The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. This over $2 trillion economic relief package provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses, and preserves jobs for our American industries. It also established a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund to provide payments to State, Local, and Tribal governments navigating the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. As of June 2020,the U.S. Department of the Treasury (the Treasury) has made payments from the Fund to states and eligible units of local government; the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories (the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands); and Tribal governments.
Congress recently reached an agreement on a $900 billion pandemic relief stimulus bill!
The stimulus will provide funding to extend unemployment benefits, the eviction moratorium, federal student loan forbearance, and will provide a new round of stimulus checks. Notably, the 12/30/2020 deadline for the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund has been extended for one year. This leaves significantly more time for state and local governments to leverage this existing direct federal assistance to purchase new equipment and have it installed or moved on-site before the deadline. Once the deadline passes, all Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars will go back to the U.S. Department of Treasury. In addition, the framework for this legislation contains substantial funding for state and local governments for specific public services, such as transportation, broadband, education, and public health.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, CARES Act funds can cover software costs that “facilitate compliance with COVID-19-related public health measures.” This includes the following eligible uses:
From our understanding, it's possible. It's simply a matter of how you're leveraging the software to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and keep your community safe. (And, as with all funding of this nature, you should check with your city or county leadership.)
To put yourself in the best position to be eligible for funding:
1. Clearly state how the new software addresses your new needs for online administrative workflows and remote citizen access to government services. Start by explaining the specific challenges you are facing ensuring business continuity and citizen service during the COVID-19 crisis. Be sure to clarify how the hurdle is the direct result of the pandemic.
2. Next, describe how you intend to use the new software to ensure business continuity during the pandemic.
3. Finally, specify the remaining two components critical to be eligible for funding:
Most funds were distributed from the federal government to states. Some funds were distributed from the federal government directly to the largest cities and counties. Local governments can apply for funds through county or state governments by contacting state and county officials for help finding the distribution path and application guidelines for your region.
CARES Act funding guidelines for state, territorial, local, and tribal governments from the Department of the Treasury.
Corona virus relief fund FAQs, including responses to questions about transference of funds and specific spending eligibility from the Department of the Treasury.
Note: This information is not intended as legal guidance. Please talk to your legal counsel or state representative for specific eligibility details.
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