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City Plans Release of Another $25.6 Million of Coronavirus Relief Funds

Denver aims to ease economic impacts on residents, workers, small businesses, and non-profits

Denver - The City and County of Denver announced today plans to infuse another $25.6 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds into the local economy to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus on Denver residents, workers, small businesses, and non-profits. The city presented a package of approximately 21 projects to address some of the economic impacts of the coronavirus to City Council during Thursday’s Budget Response Committee meeting.

“We know the COVID pandemic is disproportionately impacting our historically marginalized communities of color, both physically and economically,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “These phase two funds must prevent further displacement and provide relief to our businesses, non-profits, residents and workers. With our partners and City Council, we can leverage these federal resources to address the community’s most urgent needs.”

Denver received $126.8M in Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) on April 21, 2020 and deployed $20M in Phase 1 funds on May 29, 2020. Phase 1 funds provided emergency housing and food assistance, economic relief for local small businesses and non-profits, and increased support for widespread community testing and other public health needs.

In early June, City Council identified priority investment areas for $25.6M in Phase 2 CRF funds: public health and safety, food support, grant programs for impacted non-profits and small businesses, childcare support, the Left Behind Workers Fund, housing assistance and shelters.

Thursday, the Department of Finance presented approximately 21 projects from five primary areas to receive Phase 2 funding to address economic impacts of the coronavirus:

Emergency Sheltering - $11.9M
$11.975M Expand and improve shelter for people experiencing homelessness, including additional capacity to serve general shelter needs and increased service for those in need of medical care

Economic Recovery for Non-Profits and Small Local Businesses impacted by the coronavirus – $8.3M
$3.5M Grants of up to $7,500 to Denver small businesses through the Small Business Emergency Relief Fund

$2M Grants of up to $15,000 to Denver non-profits through the Nonprofit Emergency Relief Fund

$1M Priority Neighborhood Small Business Fund grants of up to $7,500 each for small/micro businesses in NEST designated neighborhoods

$700K Grants to Cultural Organizations and Small Creative Businesses

$500K Technical assistance for non-profits and small businesses to bolster financial stability

$435K Support for businesses seeking to safely operate outdoors through Temporary Outside Expansion with priority for M/WBE and small businesses in under-resourced areas

$150K Economic recovery planning

$150K Grants to children’s organizations

Public Health - $2.5M
$1M PPE Kits for Denver Small Businesses and Non-Profits

$800K Addition of a public restroom near the 16th Street Mall

$500K DDPHE/Office of Equity and Social Innovation partnership to increase public health education and elevate communications for historically marginalized communities of color and First Nations/Indigenous

$65K Continue temporary safe streets

Support to individuals impacted by the coronavirus - $1.9M
$1M Left Behind Workers Fund to help residents who do not qualify for state, federal aid

$300K Funds 5 new electric vehicles and EV charging stations in low-income, under-resourced communities, and provide subsidized memberships for at least 450 residents through the non-profit eGo Carshare

$300K Assistance to artists through Denver Arts & Venues

$300K Laptops and hotspots for Denver workers who have entered unemployment due to the pandemic

Food Assistance for individuals impacted by the coronavirus - $1M
Emergency Food Distribution

Following Thursday’s presentation to the Budget Response Committee, City Council will submit suggestions for amendments to the proposed projects list for consideration. The City will consider Council’s input and finalize the Phase 2 projects list and will begin implementation of Phase 2 programs, including presentation of contracts for City Council approval where necessary.

In addition to the Phase 1 and Phase 2 funds, the City has set aside $25M for citywide operations (payroll, telecommuting equipment, etc.) and intends to move those expenses from city budgets and onto CRF in the fall. The remaining approximately $56M will be split for two purposes: local match for FEMA emergency funds (currently the city is responsible for a 25% local match and CRF is authorized for this purpose) and; as contingency/reserve in the event of a resurgence of the virus in the fall. If there is not a resurgence, the city intends to release additional funds in the fourth quarter of 2020.