By Councilwoman Thelda Williams
The City of Phoenix received $293 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is part of the $2.1 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress. The city can only use the funds for expenses directly related to COVID-19 and the funds must be spent before the end of the calendar year or it must be returned to the federal government.
COVID-19 impacts are likely to be felt for some time so the council voted to take about half of the allocated relief funds to hold for potential future expenses through the year. In early May, the City Council adopted the Phoenix Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) Strategic Plan; providing clear guidance to staff on the city’s use of CRF funds. The council broke the funds into three major categories: Community Investment, $75 million; City Expenses, $75 million; and Reserve to Preserve City Services, $143 million.
The list below includes the council’s addition for small business assistance, individual utility and rent/mortgage assistance, as well as refugee assistance and domestic violence in the vulnerable population category.
Business and Employee Assistance: $15.7 million
• Small business assistance (with Phoenix IDA): $5 million
• Small business guidance: $100,000
• Restaurant restart program: $1 million
• Airport small business assistance: $1 million
• Microenterprise: $6 million
• Arts and culture: $2.6 million
Utility and Rent/Mortgage Assistance: $30 million
• City water, sewer and trash, electric and natural gas utility (3 months) and rent/mortgage assistance (1 month) for individuals (up to 10,000 customers) affected: $24 million
• City water and sewer assistance (3 months) for businesses affected: $6 million
Distance Learning and Wi-Fi Access: $1 million
• Broader Wi-Fi access for students’ online learning
• Public Housing Wi-Fi
• Community access to online city services and remote meeting access
Mitigation and Care for Vulnerable Populations: $10 million
• City homelessness and affordable housing strategy (approved April 21)
• Domestic violence impacts
• Refugee/asylum seeker assistance
Food Delivery: $5 million
• Seniors, schools and food banks
Better Health Outcomes and Community Testing: $5 million
• Ensure broad testing, especially in underserved communities
• Assist Maricopa County Public Health with contact tracing
Unallocated: $8.3 million
City of Phoenix staff are working to set up procedures, procurement bidding processes and applications for small businesses, residents and nonprofits. What would normally take several months is being expedited to disburse the funds as quickly as possible. I encourage residents to check phoenix.gov often for updates on how to apply for the various funding opportunities.
The $75 million for city expenses is broken down into areas such as: personal protection equipment and cleaning/sanitizing; medical and public safety measures; public facility retrofit for COVID; and more. For a complete breakdown of how the $75 million for city expenses will be allocated, visit phoenix.gov. If you have any questions or comments, contact my office at [email protected] or call 602-262-7444.
Councilwoman Thelda Williams serves as the District 1 representative, which encompasses north west Phoenix from Northern Avenue to New River Road; and the Interstate 17 to 67th Avenue.