Overview of COVID-19 Related funds for Municipalities
In addition to funding received through Massachusetts’ Coronavirus Relief Fund – Municipal Program, municipalities have been recipients of various federal funds to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some funds were distributed directly from the federal government to municipalities, while other sources flowed through the Commonwealth.
The tool below displays various federal funding sources distributed to municipalities.
Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG): The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program focuses on enhancing the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire and fire-related hazards. Supplemental funding in fiscal year 2020 provides financial assistance directly to eligible fire departments, non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations, and state fire training academies for critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG): The Massachusetts Community Development Block Grant Program is a federally funded, competitive grant program designed to help small cities and towns meet a broad range of community development needs. Massachusetts and entitlement municipalities received additional CDBG funding to support economic and community development efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Massachusetts allocated a portion of their CDBG dollars to non-entitlement communities that did not receive CDBG funding directly from the federal government.
Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (CLFRF): The federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided $3.4 billion to municipalities and counties in the Commonwealth. Funds can be used to respond to the public health emergency, including negative economic impacts; to provide premium pay to essential workers; to replace lost revenue; or to invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.
Coronavirus Relief Fund Municipal Program (CvRF-MP): The CARES Act provided Massachusetts with a total of approximately $2.7 B through the new Coronavirus Relief Fund (CvRF) to use for expenditures related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Commonwealth made available approximately $502 M in CvRF funds to Massachusetts cities and towns through the Coronavirus Relief Fund Municipal Program (CvRF-MP).
Coronavirus Relief Fund (CvRF) – Boston/Plymouth: The City of Boston and Plymouth County received CvRF funds directly from the federal government. As a result, Boston and municipalities in Plymouth County do not receive funding through CvRF-MP.
Election Security Grants: Funding under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) supports improvements to voting systems and voting access. Supplemental funds were provided under the CARES Act for Election Security Grants to help states prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus in the 2020 election cycle. Massachusetts has used the funds for costs of expanded voting by mail, costs of PPE and social distancing measures for in-person voting, and communications about changes in the voting process for both the state primary and the general election. Some of this funding was distributed to municipalities to address similar costs.
Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG): The Emergency Solutions Grant assists homeless households and households at risk of homelessness by supporting the services necessary to help them quickly regain stable housing after experiencing a housing crisis. Massachusetts and eligible municipalities received additional ESG funding to support homelessness services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
FEMA Reimbursement: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides funding for the Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program that reimburses state, local, and tribal governments, as well as certain types of private non-profit organizations for eligible costs incurred during a declared federal disaster. Costs related to the COVID-19 public health emergency are being reimbursed at 100 percent for costs incurred between January 20, 2020 and April 1, 2022.
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA): The HOPWA program provides housing assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. The supplemental funds provided under the CARES Act are to be used by HOPWA grantees to maintain operations and to fund rental assistance, supportive services, and other necessary actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Justice Assistance Grants (JAG): The Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program provided additional Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funding to assist eligible states, local units of government, and tribes in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the coronavirus. Eligible expenditures included overtime, equipment, hiring, supplies, training, travel expenses, and addressing medical needs of inmates. Some municipalities received funding directly through the federal program; others were able to apply for funding through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.
Shared Streets Program: Partially funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Shared Streets and Spaces program provided grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $300,000 for cities and towns to quickly implement or expand improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce in their communities.
The table below provides a detailed overview of funding allocated by various programs to municipalities in the Commonwealth.