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State, local, and tribal governments have many financial assistance options available to them through recent COVID-19 legislation.

Reducing risk

COVID-19 Financial Assistance for State, Local, and Tribal Governments

  • Jake Lenell
  • 5/1/2020

Key insights

  • Three significant pieces of legislation authorize funding for state, local, and tribal governments
  • Governments will need to determine which programs align with their organization
  • Additional compliance requirements and internal control structure changes may be applicable

In March 2020, Congress passed three significant pieces of legislation in response to COVID-19: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. Each of these acts authorized funding for state, local, and tribal governments through new and existing grant programs. How you apply and receive the funds varies depending on the federal agency that appropriated the funding. Additionally, many programs will flow through state agencies, which will have their own application process.

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If your government organization applies for this funding, be aware of additional compliance requirements and any changes needed in your internal control structure, as failure to comply could cause you to lose grant funds. It may be difficult to identify and apply for programs that align to your specific organization, as well as to navigate the additional compliance requirements. Reaching out to your auditor can be a helpful first step as you evaluate the various assistance programs.

Coronavirus legislation funding summary chart

The charts below summarize the programs available to state, local, and tribal governments. See the article links for details on specific funding opportunities and watch for others to be added as additional information becomes available.

CARES Act Funding Summary
Administration for Community Living (ACL)
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
ACL $955 million Supports nutrition programs, home- and community-based services, support for family caregivers, and expand oversight and protections for seniors and individuals with disabilities. ACL is announcing a $50 million funding opportunity to support efforts by Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 emergency. All states and territories are eligible for funding and encouraged to apply. Funding will be distributed based on population estimates of individuals who are age 60 and older and individuals of all ages who have disabilities.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
CDC $1.5 billion Supports states, local governments, territories, and tribes in their efforts to conduct public health activities, including: purchase of personal protective equipment, surveillance for coronavirus, laboratory testing to detect positive cases, contact tracing to identify additional cases, infection control and mitigation at the local level to prevent the spread of the virus, and other public health preparedness and response activities.
CDC $1.5 billion Provides flexible funding to support the CDC’s continuing efforts to contain and combat the virus, including repatriation and quarantine efforts, the purchase and distribution of diagnostic test kits (including for state and local public health agencies), and support for laboratory testing, workforce training programs, combating antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic resistant bacteria as a result of secondary infections related to COVID-19, and communicating with and informing public, state, local, and tribal governments and healthcare institutions.
CDC $500 million Provides funding for global disease detection and emergency response.
CDC $500 million Provides funding for public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure modernization.
Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
ACF $3.5 billion Allows child care programs to maintain critical operations, including meeting emergency staffing needs and ensuring first responders and health care workers can access child care while they respond to the pandemic.
ACF $1 billion Provides additional Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funding to help communities address increasing unemployment and economic disruption, including providing housing and utility assistance, health services, and emergency support services. States receive funds according to a statutory formula. In turn, states fund a network of local entities with 90% of their CSBG grant award. These local entities include, local governments, migrant and seasonal farm worker organizations, and Community Action Agencies (CAAs).
ACF $900 million Helps lower-income households heat and cool their homes.
ACF $750 million Provides support for Head Start to meet emergency staffing needs.
ACF $45 million Available to the states for child welfare services under the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program, with any matching requirement waived.
ACF $45 million Supports families during this uncertain time, and designed to prevent and respond to family and domestic violence, including offering shelter and supportive services to those who need it.
ACF $25 million Provides additional funding for the Runaway and Homeless Youth programs, which provide grants to community-based public and private agencies for the provision of outreach, crisis intervention, emergency shelter, counseling, family reunification, and aftercare services to runaway and homeless youth.
Department of Commerce
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
Department of Commerce $1.5 billion Economic adjustment assistance to help revitalize local communities after the pandemic. Economic Development Administration (EDA) assistance can be used to help rebuild impacted industries, such as tourism or manufacturing supply chains, capitalize local funds to provide low-interest loans to businesses of all sizes, and support other locally identified priorities for economic recovery.
Indian Health Service (IHS)
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
IHS $1.03 billion Supports the tribal health system during the pandemic, including expanded support for medical services, equipment, supplies, and public health education for IHS direct service, tribally operated and urban Indian health care facilities; expanded funding for purchased/referred care; and new investments for telehealth services, electronic health records improvement, and expanded disease surveillance by tribal epidemiology centers.
Department of the Interior
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
Department of the Interior $453 million Provides aid to tribal governments; supports welfare assistance and social service programs, including assistance to tribal members affected by the coronavirus crisis; expands public safety and emergency response capabilities; increases Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) capacity for teleworking so the agency is better prepared to assist tribes; and meets increased staffing and overtime costs.
Department of the Interior $69 million Provides funding for response needs at Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)-funded schools, including staffing, transportation, telework, and cleaning activities, and assistance for tribal colleges and universities across the country to help respond to the crisis.
Department of Education
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
Department of Education $14 billion Provides funding for institutions of higher education to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Funds may be used to defray expenses for institutions of higher education, such as lost revenue, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, and grants to students for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. Learn more here.
Department of Education $13.2 billion Provides formula-grants to states, which will then distribute 90% of funds to local educational agencies to use for coronavirus-response activities, such as planning for and coordinating during long-term school closures; purchasing educational technology to support online learning for all students served by the local educational agency; and additional activities authorized by federal elementary and secondary education laws.
Department of Education $3 billion Each state will receive a share to allocate at their discretion for emergency support grants to local educational agencies that the state educational agency deems have been most significantly impacted by coronavirus. These funds will support the ability of such local educational agencies to continue to provide educational services to their students and support the ongoing operations of the local educational agency. The funds will also provide emergency support through grants to institutions of higher education serving students within the state.
Department of Education $300 million Provides grants to states with the highest coronavirus burden.
Department of Education $150 million Provides funding to the outlying areas on the basis of their respective needs, as determined by the secretary, in consultation with the secretary of the interior.
Department of Education $150 million Provides funding for programs operated or funded by the Bureau of Indian Education.
Department of Education $100 million Provides funding for Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence) and provides additional funds to help elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools pay for cleaning and disinfecting affected schools, counseling, and distance learning.
Election Assistance Commission
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
Election Assistance Commission $400 million Provides funding for states to help prepare for the 2020 elections.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
FEMA $45 billion Provides funding for the immediate needs of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to protect citizens and help them recover from the overwhelming effects of COVID-19. Reimbursable activities may include medical response, personal protective equipment, and coordination of logistics, safety measures, and community services nationwide. Learn more here.
FEMA $200 million Provides funding for shelter, food, and supportive services to individuals and families in sudden economic crisis.
FEMA $100 million Designed to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire-related hazards by providing direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments, nonaffiliated emergency medical services organizations, and state fire training academies.
FEMA $100 million Provides funding for state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to support coordination, communications, and logistics.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
HUD $4 billion Provides Homeless Assistance Grant funding to address the impact of COVID-19 among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and to support additional homeless assistance, homeless prevention, and eviction prevention. Funds will be distributed to states and local governments using the formula used for such grants in fiscal year 2020. The remainder is to be distributed by a formula determined by the HUD secretary that allocates the amounts to areas with the greatest need.
HUD $2 billion Allocated to states and units of local governments that received an allocation under the fiscal year 2020 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula.
HUD $2 billion Allocated to states and units of local government, cities, and counties based on the prevalence and risk of COVID-19 and related economic and housing needs.
HUD $1.25 billion Allows public housing agencies (PHAs) to keep more than $3.2 million Section 8 voucher and public housing households stably housed.
HUD $1 billion Provides funding to states to support a coordinated response across entitlement and non-entitlement communities.
HUD $685 million Provides additional operating funds for public housing agencies, including to maintain normal operations and take other necessary actions while the public housing program is impacted by COVID-19.
HUD $300 million For Native American programs, which include $200 million for the Indian Housing Block Grant program and $100 million for imminent threats to health and safety as a result of COVID-19.
HUD $65 million For rental assistance, service coordinators, and support services for the affordable households for the elderly and low-income persons with disabilities.
HUD $65 million Funding to Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS to maintain rental assistance and expand operational and administrative flexibilities for housing and supportive service providers to assist nearly 61,000 households. Given that this population is particularly vulnerable, the bill includes temporary relocation services to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19 for these at-risk households.
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
Institute of Museum and Library Services $50 million Expands digital network access in areas of the country where such access is lacking, including the purchase of internet-enabled devices and provisions for technical support services in response to the disruption of schooling and other community services during the COVID-19 emergency.
Department of Justice
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
Department of Justice $850 million Provides additional funding for the Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne-JAG). Byrne-JAG is the most flexible federal law enforcement grant program and will allow state and local police departments and jails to meet local needs, including the purchase of personal protective equipment and other needed medical items and overtime for officers on the front lines.
Department of Labor (DOL)
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
DOL Calculated Provides for federal reimbursement for half of the amounts paid by the states for unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020. States that choose to pay recipients as soon as they become unemployed (rather than waiting one week for eligibility) will receive an additional full reimbursement for those first week’s payments through December 31, 2020. States may also choose to enter into agreements with the DOL through which the federal government will provide, during that period, an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits after the state’s unemployment benefits are no longer available.
DOL $360 million Invests in programs that provide training and supportive services for dislocated workers, seniors, migrant farmworkers, and homeless veterans. This also includes funding for DOL agencies to ensure new paid leave and unemployment insurance benefits are implemented swiftly and effectively.
National Endowment for the Arts
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
National Endowment for the Arts $75 million Provides funding to state arts agencies to provide grants and to support arts organizations, museums, libraries, and other organizations during the coronavirus crisis.
National Endowment for the Humanities
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
National Endowment for the Humanities $75 million Provides funding to state humanities agencies to provide grants and to support arts organizations, museums, libraries, and other organizations during the coronavirus crisis.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
SAMHSA $425 million Provides funding for mental health and substance use disorders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with certified community behavioral health clinics receiving $250 million. SAMHSA gets $50 million for suicide prevention, and $100 million in flexible funding to address mental health and substance use disorders and provide resources to youth and the homeless during this time.
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
DOT $25 billion Formula allocations to public transit operators to protect public health and safety while ensuring transportation access to jobs, medical treatment, food, and other essential services that remain available during the COVID-19 response.
DOT $10 billion Designed to help publically owned, commercial airports address the COVID-19 crisis as the aviation sector grapples with the most steep and potentially sustained decline in air travel in history.
Department of the Treasury
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
Department of the Treasury $150 billion This money is to be distributed to states, tribal governments, and local governments with populations exceeding 500,000 to cover necessary expenditures related to COVID-19 that were not accounted for in that government’s budget and are incurred between March 1, 2020, and December 30, 2020.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
USDA $15.5 billion Provides additional funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to ensure all Americans, including seniors and children, receive the food they need.
USDA $8.8 billion Provides additional funding for child nutrition programs to ensure children receive meals while school is not in session.
USDA $100 million Guarantees SNAP participants on Indian reservations receive much needed food and ensures the facilities have the capacity to meet increased needs.
USDA $100 million Funds allocated for the ReConnect program to help ensure rural Americans have access to broadband, the need for which is increasingly apparent as millions of Americans work from home across the country.
USDA $25 million Supports the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program. This increase will help improve distance learning and telemedicine in rural areas of America.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
Department of Veterans Affairs $150 million Provides 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.
FFCRA Funding Summary
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
Health and Human Services $250 million Assists the senior nutrition program in the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to provide home-delivered meals to low-income seniors, congregate nutrition services, and nutrition services for Native Americans.
ACF $500 million Provides access to nutritious foods for low-income pregnant women or mothers with young children who lose their jobs or are laid off due to the COVID-19 emergency.
ACF $400 million Assists local food banks in meeting increased demand for low-income Americans during the emergency. Of the total, $300 million is for the purchase of nutritious foods and $100 million is to support the storage and distribution of the foods.
Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Act Supplemental Appropriations Funding Summary
Federal funding agency/department Amount authorized Description
CDC $950 million $475 million must be allocated within 30 days to support states, local governments, territories, and tribes to conduct public health activities such as: surveillance for coronavirus, laboratory testing to detect positive cases, contact tracing to identify additional positive cases, infection control at the local level to prevent additional cases, migration in areas with person-to-person transmission to prevent additional cases, and other public health preparedness and response activities.

How we can help

CLA’s experienced professionals can help you navigate the complexities of COVID-19 funding by:

CLA is here to support you through this challenging time, so you can continue to provide valuable services to your community.

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