Feds Give Counties New Flexibility for COVID-19 Relief Funds

1200px-Seal_of_the_United_States_Department_of_the_Treasury.svgThe U.S. Department of Treasury yesterday issued updated guidance on the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Included in the guidance is clarification on the ability of state and local governments to use CRF funding toward the non-federal matching requirements for FEMA’s Stafford Act assistance for COVID-19 relief.

According to the guidance:

May funds be used to satisfy non-federal matching requirements under the Stafford Act?

Yes, payments from the Fund may be used to meet the non-federal matching requirements for Stafford Act assistance to the extent such matching requirements entail COVID-19-related costs that otherwise satisfy the Fund’s eligibility criteria and the Stafford Act. Regardless of the use of Fund payments for such purposes, FEMA funding is still dependent on FEMA’s determination of eligibility under the Stafford Act.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Maryland Department of Budget and Management revised its guidance on the distribution of federal CRF – indicating that a county with an approved spending plan and indemnification agreement may receive “frontloaded” distributions, rather than waiting for item-by-item reimbursement.

MACo, in a letter signed by a multitude of county leaders, had expressed concern that the reimbursement-only model would hamper these much-needed local efforts. See Conduit Street coverage: “Counties: Proposed Reimbursement Model for CARES Funds Too Slow.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.

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