Howard County has received its share of the CARES Act funding, nearly $57 million ($56,830,393), from the State of Maryland. As a jurisdiction with a population under 500,000, Howard County was required to submit detailed applications documenting how grant funding is projected to be spent and execute a grant agreement with the State.
Additionally, half of the County’s share of grant funding, $28,415,197, was granted to the Howard County Health Department, while the remaining half was transmitted directly to Howard County Government. Howard County Government has access to at least $9 million in funds granted to the Howard County Health Department to cover County health related expenses during the pandemic.
“Howard County was required to go through a more rigorous process to receive federal relief funding. Now that we have received this critical funding, we can focus on quickly distributing funds to those who need it the most,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “We plan to provide more than $5.7 million in business assistance funding to support our local businesses in response and recovery to COVID-19. I’d like to thank our Congressional Delegation for their work to ensure local governments were included in the CARES Act, so we can respond and support our community on a local level.”
Howard County has spent more than $9.3 million in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts to date and is anticipating a revenue loss of nearly $35 million.
COVID-19 Related Expenses
Howard County Government is projecting more than $22 million in health-related expenses stemming from the pandemic. The CARES Act will support the following types of health-related expenses:
● Salaries for emergency management and services dedicated to mitigating and responding to the pandemic;
● Acquisition and distribution of supplies;
● Expenses for public safety measures;
● Communications and enforcement;
● Disinfection of public areas.
Additionally, Howard County Government is projecting more than $9 million in non-health related expenses stemming from the pandemic. The following are non-health related expenses that will be supported by the County’s CARES Act funding:
● Hazard pay for employees performing essential work during the pandemic;
● Technology expenses to improve telework capabilities;
● Care for homeless populations;
● Food delivery to residents;
● Rental assistance support.
Business Support and Relief
Howard County is also providing over $5.7 million in business assistance funding as part of its HoCo RISE effort to help businesses with the response and recovery from the pandemic. Over 80% of Howard County’s businesses have fewer than 20 employees, we are putting the limited resources in targeted sectors to help those most impacted.
The business assistance efforts include:
A Storefront Retail Assistance Program, providing $2.7 million to locally-owned small retailers who have been forced to close because of the Governor’s non-essential business order.
An Agriculture Assistance Program, providing $800,000 in total grant assistance to support local, full-time farms affected by the decreased demand by local restaurants as well as a drastic decline in commodity prices.
A Restaurant Assistance Program, providing $2 million to locally-owned restaurants for support for accommodations required to re-open and customer access.
Further details on the application process for these business assistance programs will be announced in the coming weeks.