Little hand saving money in pink piggy bank

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted Sept. 16 to allocate more of the $400 million in federal CARES Act funding it received.

A new allocation will provide $3 million to support local food banks and $6 million to provide utility assistance to those behind on electric and gas bills. 

The board also voted to expand two programs established that provide financial assistance to renters and small-business owners, respectively. 

The board voted to send an additional $40 million for the Small Business Relief Program.

 The grant program is to reimburse organizations for losses incurred during the pandemic. To date, the county has awarded more than $14 million in grants, with nearly $12 million coming in the past month after the program was relaunched. 

 The additional funds make a total of $63 million in small-business grant money available.

Interested businesses and nonprofits can see a list of qualifications and apply at azfoundation.org/MaricopaRelief.

And the board will send an additional $6.25 million for the COVID Crisis Rental Assistance Program.

 Since the program began July 15, more than 1,000 households have received a combined 2,234 months (or $3.3 million) of paid rent, with another $2.3 million set to be distributed soon, according to the county.

The board’s vote increased the amount of funding available for this program from $30 million to more than $36 million. 

To check eligibility, apply for assistance and upload documents, visit maricopa.gov/CovidRentHelp.

“Maricopa County has been innovative and dogged in addressing the public health emergency. Not only have we implemented new strategies and initiatives, which have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the spread of COVID 19 and have lessened the burden on the local health care system; we’ve also been able to assist individuals and businesses facing financial hardship,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman, District 4. “Now that we better understand what’s working and what’s needed, we can put federal dollars where they can do the most good.”

Maricopa County received $399 million from the U.S. Treasury as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The purpose of this money is to cover expenditures related to the public health emergency that were not already included in the fiscal year 2020 budget.