Emergency Grant Funding For COVID-19 Economic Impact In the Works

The coronavirus outbreak has had a huge economic impact nation-wide, state-wide, and locally. That’s why elected officials are working to make emergency grant funds available for people in need. Especially for small businesses, nonprofits, and renters.

Montgomery County Councilmembers are working to expedite a financial assistance package. On Tuesday the council introduced legislation that is aimed to provide $20 million in emergency grants, and adds $5 million for safety net services provided by the Department of Health and Human Services that support vulnerable residents.

The Public Health Emergency Grant Program [Bill 16-90] is sponsored by all nine Councilmembers, and it will enable the County Executive to provide grant funding to small businesses and nonprofits that can show how they’ve been impacted finacially due to the critical steps and mandated closures put in place in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Council introduced two special appropriations on Tuesday to fund the $20 million Public Health Emergency Grant Program and to add $5 million for existing Department of Health and Human Services programs.

According to a press release, the measures the Council introduced include:

  • Public Health Emergency Grant Program: Grant funding up to $75,000 per business or nonprofit for County businesses or nonprofits with 100 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees that can demonstrate financial losses caused by the public health emergency. Grant funding must be used for employee wages and benefits, taxes, debt, rent or other operating losses during the public health emergency.
  • Grant program includes microgrant funding for local businesses and nonprofits up to $2,500 to purchase teleworking equipment and technology, to support teleworking capabilities during the COVID-19 emergency.
  • A $20 million special appropriation for the Fiscal Year 2020 Operating Budget will be introduced to finance the Public Health Emergency Grant Program is requested for the County’s Economic Development Fund. The source of the funds is the County’s General Fund Reserves.
  •  A $5 million special appropriation to the Department of Health and Human Services will be introduced to support the increased need for funding existing County safety-net programs serving vulnerable populations.

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Officials say the Council plans to approve the legislation and special appropriations on an emergency basis at its March 31 session, authorizing the County Executive to immediately implement these measures.

The Council staff report and the full text of Bill 16-20, the COVID-19 Economic Relief Act can be found here. Information on the supplemental appropriations can be found here .

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