COVID-Related Federal Funds in Massachusetts Cities and Towns

This page summarizes resources the federal government has provided to Massachusetts cities and towns in response to COVID-19.

The federal government has provided significant resources to both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its municipalities and school districts in response to the public health emergency caused by the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The table below summarizes these federal revenue sources. Many of these sources also appear on the Commonwealth's Federal Funds transparency website.

Please note that COVID-related federal fund activity may be subject to significant and rapid changes as the federal government enacts new legislation or publishes new regulatory requirements, the nature of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic changes, and strategic efforts continue to maximize federal revenue and minimize compliance risks.

Use the drop-down menus to filter the list by legislative district. Descriptions of each funding source can be found below the tool.

COVID-Related Federal Revenue Available to Municipalities

Coronavirus Relief Fund – Municipal Program (CvRF-MP): The CvRF-MP made $502M in CvRF funds available to eligible Massachusetts cities and towns (excluding the City of Boston and municipalities in Plymouth County as explained below). Funding for CvRF-MP was claimed over two rounds, with nearly $100M distributed in Round 1 and $224M distributed in Round 2. The program’s “reconciliation period”, structured as reimbursements for eligible expenses, is open until at least June 30, 2021. Eligibility for the Coronavirus Relief Fund is limited by U.S. Treasury guidance and all expenses are subject to audit and recoupment by Treasury. Costs must be necessary as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, not be included in the city or town’s budget as of March 27, 2020, and the beneficial use of the good or service must be received between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021. Funds allocated to a municipality through this program represent the total amount the municipality is eligible to receive. Funds claimed by a municipality represent the amount of funding received by the municipality.

Coronavirus Relief Fund – Boston/Plymouth County: Certain units of local government were eligible to receive Coronavirus Relief Fund allocations directly from U.S. Treasury. The City of Boston and Plymouth County applied and received funding directly from U.S. Treasury. The federal parameters associated with the program are the same as for CvRF-MP (described above). Funds allocated to a municipality through this program represent the total amount the municipality is eligible to receive. Funds claimed by a municipality represent the amount of funding received by the municipality. Please note the Commonwealth is not responsible for funding allocations or claims in these communities.

Shared Streets Program: Funded in part through the Coronavirus Relief Fund, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Shared Streets and Spaces program encouraged municipalities to find innovative ways to use public spaces that complied with public health measures and supported small businesses. The 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.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG): The Community Development Block Grant Program provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities, and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons. 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 its CDBG dollars to non-entitlement communities that did not receive CDBG funding directly from the federal government.

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.

Assistance to Firefighters Grant: 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.

Justice Assistance Grants: The Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program provided additional Justice Assistance Grants to eligible states and local units of government. Massachusetts allocated a portion of its funding to communities that were not eligible to apply for grants through the federal government. Funding is designed to support public safety departments in their important role on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds can be used for overtime, equipment (including law enforcement and medical personal protective equipment), hiring, supplies (such as gloves, masks, sanitizer), training, travel expenses, and addressing the medical needs of inmates in state prisons, jails, and detention centers.

Election Security Grants: Funding under the Help America Vote Act supports improvements to voting systems and voting access. Supplemental funds were provided under the CARES Act to help states prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus in the 2020 election cycle. Some of this funding was distributed to municipalities to address elections costs.

Additional CvRF Assistance for Municipalities: Municipalities that were particularly hard hit by emergency costs related to the pandemic received additional targeted CvRF grants to mitigate disproportionate impacts on at-risk populations. The eligibility restrictions associated with these funds are the same as for CvRF-MP (described above).

Obligated FEMA Applications: 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 emergency response costs incurred during a declared federal disaster. The COVID-19 pandemic was declared a federal major disaster in Massachusetts on March 27, 2020 with an incident period starting January 20, 2020. Allocations represent municipal applications that have been approved and obligated through the FEMA PA program.

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.

Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (CLFRF): The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) allocates $130B in direct assistance to counties, cities, and towns. Subject to future guidance from Treasury, these funds may be used to respond to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, provide premium pay to eligible employees, replace revenue lost due to the pandemic, and invest in broadband, sewer, and water projects. Funding is being distributed in two tranches, with the first half distributed in 2021 and the second half to be distributed in 2022. Funds allocated to a municipality through this program represent the total amount the municipality is eligible to receive (across both tranches). Funds claimed by a municipality represent the amount of funding received by the municipality. Allocated amounts include both funding allocated directly to the municipality, and county funding redistributed to municipalities in abolished counties.

COVID-Related Federal Revenue Available to Local Education Agencies (LEAs)

CvRF School Reopening Grant: The CvRF School Reopening Grant Program was available to eligible school districts and charters to support costs to safely reopen schools in compliance with COVID-19 public health requirements. Funding was provided at $225 per student based on FY2021 foundation enrollment and was intended to supplement other resources the Governor provided to cities and towns for COVID-19 response efforts as well as funds made available to DESE.

Remote Learning Technology Essentials Grant: The Remote Learning Technology Essentials Grant Program was a competitive grant to provide supplemental funds to support LEAs in addressing remote learning technology needs and to ensure every student has adequate access to technology for use in remote learning environments during the 2020-21 school year.

ESSER I: The CARES Act created a new Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund ("ESSER") for states. ESSER funds provided LEAs with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the country. State awards for the ESSER Fund were in the same proportion as each state received under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Each state must use no less than 90 percent of its allocation to make subgrants to LEAs, based on each LEA’s share of funds received under Title I, Part A in fiscal year 2019–20. Please note that claimed amounts updated periodically as new data become available.

ESSER II: The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 provided additional funding for the ESSER Fund (ESSER II). Funds were distributed in the same manner as ESSER I, and states were again required to pass 90% of funding through to LEAs. ESSER II expanded eligible uses to include addressing learning loss, improving school facilities and infrastructure to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus, and purchasing of education technology. In addition to the standard distribution to LEAs, DESE provided each district with an additional $10,000 for mental health services and supports.

ESSER III: The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides a third round of funding for ESSER (ESSER III). This funding again requires states to pass 90% of funding through to LEAs. Estimated allocations are based on LEAs’ share of ESSER II. ESSER III requires that LEAs spend 20% of funding to address learning loss and includes new maintenance of equity provisions.

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