CARES Act Funding Public Input

Dear Pinellas Resident,

Your feedback is needed this week about an important local relief program.

Thousands of individuals and small business owners have already applied for emergency financial relief through the Pinellas CARES programs. Pinellas County plans to open additional programs with funds from the County’s portion of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.The remainder of the County’s $170 million in CARES funds will be invested in programs that equitably support those who need the most help among nearly 1 million residents.

Your help is needed to identify the most pressing community needs that can be met with these limited federal funds. 

Please take a few minutes to read about the program below then take a short survey to share what you think. You are also invitedjoin an online community conversation at 5 p.m., on Friday, June 12, 2020, where you’ll have another chance to share your thoughts and hear what others are saying. Both sources of input will be considered along with the ability of the County and local partners to effectively use these funds to meet immediate needs related to COVID-19 within the constraints of the federal CARES guidelines.

 CARES Guidelines:

  • Individuals & Families: Provide financial assistance to more families or individuals in need as a result of the impacts of COVID-19.
  • Businesses: Provide assistance to more small businesses that suffered economic damages as a result of COVID-19.
  • Nonprofits/Organizations: Provide funding to nonprofits and community organizations to purchase supplies and/or expand services directly related to COVID-19.
  • Public Health: Fund other investments in public health and safety in response to COVID-19.

Important considerations:

  • The goal of this money is to bridge the gap – that is, give emergency relief to help people stay afloat until they can get back on their feet.  The County wants to hear from a broad spectrum of people who make up the community, so that these funds can be shared equitably.
  • The need is great, but funds are limited – your input will help us prioritize proposals that provide the most help to the most people who have verifiable needs caused by COVID-19.
  • The County is committed to a simple application and disbursement process for these programs to the extent possible.
  • Organizations that can use these funds to quickly and effectively offer direct help to people or cover costs from a recent increased demand for service are encouraged to give input.
  • While there are many needs in the community not related to COVID-19, CARES funds may only be used to address unforeseen financial needs and risks due to COVID-19.
  • All CARES funds must be used by Dec. 30, 2020.

Federal guidelines do not allow the CARES funds to pay for:

  • Expenses that will be paid by any other federal program or insurance.
  • Reimbursement to donors for donated items or services.
  • Payroll or benefits expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services, and similar employees whose work duties are not substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Payment of property taxes or other governmental taxes, fees, and charges.

For more information about allowable uses of CARES funds, visit the U.S. Treasury website or view these answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Next Steps:

  • Take the survey: help identify the most pressing needs in our shared community that can be met with these limited federal funds. Complete the survey here.
  • Attend an online community conversation at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 12, to share your feedback and ideas. Register through Zoom.
  • Questions? Comments? Contact us at

Josh Boatwright, APR
Marketing Project Coordinator  Pinellas County Marketing and Communications 333 Chestnut Street, Clearwater, FL 33756 (727) 464-4600

Make Pinellas Count! #MakePinellasCount

All government correspondence is subject to the public records law.

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