What are the steps to obtaining CARES Act or other grant funding for your project?
Funding Sources Defined
GovQA has identified the following sources of state and local government agency funding for COVID-19 related expenses.
The CARES Act (H.R. 748) is a $2.2 trillion aid package providing financial aid to families, governments, and businesses impacted by the Covid-19 public health crisis. It was signed into law on March 27, 2020, creating the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).
- Are necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency
- Were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020
- Were incurred between March 1 and December 30, 2020
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:
- technology that improves remote-working capabilities for government employees;
- technology that notifies the community about COVID-19 updates;
- technology that allows essential government functions such as making public records requests possible while supporting social distancing.
How to apply:
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.
The portion of the CARES Act earmarked for governments, called the Coronavirus Relief Fund, is $150B allocated to states, territories, tribes, and local governments based on population. States (and counties & cities with populations over 500,000) applied for funding directly. Cities and counties with fewer than 500,000 are required to request funding from the state’s share of the federal funds. Eligible uses:
- Necessary and incurred due to COVID-10 public health emergency
- Not accounted for in budget most recently approved as of the date of enactment (March 27, 2020)
- Incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020
- Coronavirus Relief Fund payments may not be used to directly account for revenue shortfalls caused by COVID-19; must be new, coronavirus-related expenses
CESF Supplement/JAG Program
The Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding of $850 million was allocated by the U.S. Department of Justice Assistance to assist eligible states, local units of government, and tribes in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the coronavirus. Eligibility was identified under FY19 State and Local Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. Applicants registered here.
Deadline to Apply: May 29, 2020 (Expired)
- Equipment (including law enforcement and medical personal protective equipment)
- Supplies (such as gloves, masks, sanitizer)
- Travel expenses
- Addressing the medical needs of inmates in state, local, and tribal prisons, jails, and detention centers
Public Health Emergency Preparedness funds of $2B+ were allocated by the CDC to states for public health preparedness and response capabilities. State departments of health applied for funding directly. Eligible uses:
- Timely communication of situational awareness and risk information by public health partners
- Timely coordination and support of response activities with health care and other partners
- Continuity of emergency operations throughout the surge
- Timely implementation of public health intervention and control measures
Emergency Management Performance Grant funds of $100M were allocated by FEMA to states for public health and emergency management activities related to COVID-19 response. State departments applied for funding directly. Eligible uses:
- Data Collection and Analysis
- Plan Development
- Jurisdictional Recovery
- Information Sharing
- Emergency Public Information and Warning and Risk Communication
- Logistics and Supply Chain Management
- Development of Distribution Management Plans
HAVA Election Security Supplement
Help American Vote Act allocated $400M to states to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus for the 2020 federal election cycle. State and territory elections offices applied for funding directly. Eligible uses:
- Implement public communication efforts on changes in voting procedures due to coronavirus response
- Launch new polling locations to help reduce crowding
- Improve processes for printing, mailing, and receiving mail ballots due to absentee voting
State Homeland Security Program
Up to $415M in SHSP funds are available each year to build or enhance capabilities that relate to the prevention of, protection from, mitigation of, response to, and recovery from terrorism. Awards distributed to state and local entities. Priority uses:
- Enhancing cybersecurity (including election security)
- Enhancing the protection of soft targets/crowded places
- Enhancing information-sharing capabilities
- Enabling continuous operation of critical business and government functions
SNAP Process and Tech Improvements Grants (PTIG)
Up to $5M in funds available each year to implement projects that improve the quality and efficiency of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) operations. Individual awards range from $20K-$2,000,000 each.
Deadline to Apply: June 15, 2020 (Expired)
- Design user-friendly processes to support SNAP applicants
- Improve system preparedness for public health emergency and pandemic response
- Improve customer service responsiveness and effectiveness
State and Local IT Modernization and Cybersecurity Act
House bill introduced on August 14, 2020, proposes $28 billion in federal funds earmarked for upgrades to IT and cybersecurity infrastructure (including the two programs outlined below). “Outdated legacy systems not only threaten state and local governments’ ability to deliver critical services but can also expose sensitive data to cyber threats,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., one of the sponsors of the legislation, in a statement. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and modernizing IT infrastructure is an important step towards ensuring our country is well-defended in cyberspace across all levels of government.”
Modernizing IT Grant Program
House bill proposes $25 billion over 5 years to state and municipal governments to replace old legacy systems and move to cloud-based systems.
Public Health Emergency Information Technology Grant Program
Proposed house bill would help cover the unexpected emergency IT costs associated with the current pandemic. $2 billion will help state and local governments develop their own cybersecurity strategic plans.
Download Our Funding Request Letter Template for IT Departments
Did you know that cloud-hosted, telework-friendly FOIA software is an eligible use for Emergency IT funding? Download our IT funding request letter template to help you make the case for purchasing GovQA — so you can improve cybersecurity while reducing IT involvement in your agency’s public records process.
*GovQA watermark removed on downloadable
Total Funding Dollars Available
Top Ten Reasons GovQA Qualifies for
CARES Act Funding:
(Our Covid-19 Records Response System is Mission-Critical Technology)
- Enables remote work for government continuity and staff safety
- Promotes compliance with COVID-19 public health precautions
- Increases agility and emergency response
- Allows agency to meet the high expectations of the public-at-large for responsiveness during COVID-19 and future emergencies (including records and information exchange, education, and outreach — data vital for decision-making)
- Promotes flexibility in staff allocation: Improves centralization, standardization and accuracy while reducing time spent processing public records and legal requests so your agency can do more with less
- Eliminates need for IT staff time and resources to support public records and legal requests (eliminates on-prem maintenance and cost; user security/support time)
- Improves resiliency and transparency; supports digital delivery of critical government services
- Highly secure, cloud-based SaaS solution; CJIS/HIPAA/NIST compliant and third-party audited on an ongoing basis to protect sensitive PII and confidential data
- Enhances oversight and control for crisis planning with real-time dashboards and reports
- Quick deployment – accelerated onboarding, live within a week
GovQA – Built to Handle a Global Crisis
The Peers in Public Records Newsletter (formerly FOIA News) is a bi-monthly e-newsletter brought to you by GovQA. It is a collection of the latest trends in public record requests and government transparency initiatives, shared stories, informative case studies, and actionable knowledge that will help you calm the chaos and keep your organization compliant. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.