Coronavirus Relief Fund helps offset unforeseen pandemic costs


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The $2.2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to help state and local governments pay for COVID-19 expenses incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30. Here’s a brief look at the fund's guidelines and how much Texas and its cities and counties received from the program.

Administering Agencies: U.S. Treasury, Office of the Governor, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM)

Eligible Local Governments: Cities and counties

Eligibility and Permitted Expenses:

  • Six cities and 12 counties in Texas with populations above 500,000 received a direct payment from the U.S. Treasury. 
  • The remaining 242 counties, and each city within those counties, must apply to TDEM.

The six categories of eligible expenses are (examples):

  1. Medical costs
  2. Public health expenses
  3. All payroll for public safety and public health personnel (Contact your TDEM unit chief or email CRF@tdem.texas.gov for more information.) 
  4. Costs of actions to facilitate compliance with COVID-19  public health measures
  5. Economic support to offset the impact of the pandemic
  6. Any other reasonably necessary expenses related to COVID-19 
  • CRF payments may be used to meet the local matching requirement for FEMA public assistance.

Grant or Loan: Grant Texas Received: $11.24 billion

Value of Direct U.S. Treasury Payments to Texas Jurisdictions (Populations 500,000+): $3.2 billion

Value of Indirect U.S. Treasury Payments to Texas Jurisdictions: $1.85 billion

  • Cities and counties not eligible for a direct federal payment had to apply to TDEM for a $55 per capita allocation by Oct. 16, 2020, at tdem.texas.gov/crf.
  • 75% of funds must be spent on eligible expenses in the first three categories and 25% on the remaining three.
  • A 20% advance is available immediately, and the remainder is available via reimbursement. A list of eligible cities and counties, their allocations and the 20% advance they received can be found on TDEM’s CRF webpage.
  • See TDEM FAQs for more on the eligible uses for the grants. A link to a CRF FAQ also can be found on TDEM’s relief fund webpage.

Deadline: Cities and counties not eligible for a direct federal payment must submit all documentation for reimbursement to TDEM by Dec. 15, 2020. All grants must be used by Dec. 30, 2020, or returned to the federal government.