Oct 21, 2020
The City and County of Denver is preparing to release a third round of federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) dollars to increase shelter capacity for people experiencing homelessness, provide rental assistance to 180 more Denver households, economic relief for nonprofits and businesses, childcare services for workers, and the continuation of the temporary shared streets program. The city presented a package of 21 projects totaling $12.6 million to City Council’s Finance and Governance Committee on Tues., Oct. 20, and is already working to release the funds to the community. An additional $1.69 million will be used to fund six projects related to the city’s direct expenses for the emergency response, including HVAC sterilization equipment and touchless fixtures at city facilities, data analytics for tracking the city’s virus response, and care support for essential city workers caring for children, parents, grandparents, and other dependents.
“The coronavirus continues to impact our community and economy on all fronts, so it is critical we continue to support our community needs across the board from housing and childcare support to helping local businesses and nonprofits survive in this economic crisis,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “We intentionally phased our release of coronavirus relief funding to ensure we were able to support our community for the duration of 2020, which is even more necessary now given the inaction by the White House to continue federal support to our communities.”
Denver received $126.8 million in CRF dollars on April 21, 2020. Including the Phase 3 recommendations, Denver has allocated $121 million for community support and citywide operations, leaving $5.8 million yet to be deployed. Phase 1 funds, announced on May 29, totaled $20 million. Phase 2 funds, announced on Aug. 6, totaled $25.6 million, and Phase 3 funds, announced on Oct. 20, total $12.6 million. In each instance, the city focused on key areas of shelter and housing ($50.5M), economic support and recovery ($20M), emergency food ($3M), and public health ($7.5M) needs. The city plans to use approximately $40 million of CRF dollars to fund citywide emergency needs such as offsetting emergency costs like eligible payroll and operations expenses, making public health improvements to public buildings, matching FEMA funds provided for the emergency response ($15M), and technology to help the city workforce operate securely and efficiently in remote settings.
The 17 projects to be funded through the Phase 3 CRF release include:
Emergency Sheltering - $8.3M
Housing Support - $1M
Economic Recovery for Non-Profits and Local Businesses impacted by the coronavirus – $2.4M
Childcare and Children’s Organizations - $800k
Public Health - $130k
An additional $1.698M for Citywide Support - $1.698M (from the city’s $40M set aside for citywide operations)
The city continues to hold $22.7M for contingency/reserve in the event FEMA does not cover the cost of providing emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness. The city has requested FEMA reimbursement for those costs and expects a determination from FEMA in the coming month. If FEMA agrees to reimburse the sheltering costs and depending on the timing of the approval, the city will distribute another phase of CRF funding (Phase 4) to the community. The city will also look at funding additional eligible citywide operations costs through CRF, making more city funds available to support a continued pandemic response into 2021.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to provide payments to State, Local, and Tribal governments navigating the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. CRF funds may not be used to replace lost revenue and may only be used to cover eligible expenses incurred March 1, 2020, to Dec. 30, 2020, meaning all funds must be expended by Dec. 30.
The City and County of Denver, when totaling federal FEMA approved, FEMA requested, CRF, and local coronavirus response special revenue fund will allocate a total of $243.8M toward its coronavirus pandemic response.