County reopens window to CARES Act funding, applicants

Financial relief is back on the table for those struggling to survive the coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact.

Manatee County announced Oct. 13 that it would resume accepting applications for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding through its numerous assistance programs this month.

Congress passed the $2 trillion CARES Act in March with bipartisan support and the president’s signature.

The bill distributed emergency funds to every state to then divvy up between local governments, small businesses, community organizations and citizens.

Out of the $8,328,221,072 Florida received through the CARES Act, Manatee County received $70,000,000.

The county created several assistance programs to distribute the funds to the recipients, including:

  • Manatee CARES Housing Assistance Program to help county residents pay rent and mortgage payments, as well as past-due utility fees associated with COVID-19’s impact;
  • Small Business Grant Program to help keep struggling businesses afloat;
  • CARES Act Funding for Nonprofits and Community Organizations to help fund nonprofit community organizations with offices within the county.

The programs will resume taking grant applications on different dates.

The Manatee CARES Housing Assistance Program will reopen its application window for a fourth round of funding at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28.

County residents who experienced a loss of income or delinquent rent or mortgage payments with associated past due utility payments can apply for up to $10,000 through the program.

Individuals will be awarded funds based on their documented needs for delinquent housing and past-due utility payments that have accumulated since March 1.

The Recover Manatee Safely First Small Business Grant Program was to resume taking applications for a third round of funding at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Businesses in the county with up to 500 employees can apply for up to $50,000, including a $5,000 grant to help reopen and operate safely, as well as up to $45,000 to reimburse documented business losses due to the pandemic.

The Funding for Nonprofits program was to reopen its application window for a third round of funding at 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 19.

To apply for that money, nonprofits must be 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) organizations registered in the state with offices in the county or adjacent counties. The organizations also must have “evidence” that it serves county residents and “of local needs specific to COVID-19 impacts.”

Applicants can receive up to $5,000 for personal protective equipment and other items to comply with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, and/or money to expand existing food distribution programs, including local food banks.

Any nonprofit that received relief funding through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, Paycheck Protection Program or any other source of CARES Act money must disclose such funding in its application.

County information outreach manager Nicholas Azzara has told The Islander that while county staff was reviewing an overload of grant applications as they come in, all CARES Act funding should be distributed by the end of 2020.

People interested in learning more about the CARES Act, or how to apply, can visit the county’s website, www.mymanatee.org.