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What Governments Should Know about the CARES Act Relief Package

What should governments know about the CARES Act and the Supplemental Appropriations Act relief package? The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 passed Congress with strong bipartisan support. President Trump signed it into law on December 27, 2020.  To sum up, this relief package provides critical support to the American people and will further strengthen our economic recovery.

President Trump signed the CARES Act into law on March 27, 2020.  The CARES Act was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. As a result, it delivered on the Trump Administration’s commitment to supporting the American people through the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19.

Together, these relief bills provide fast and direct economic assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses. Certainly, it also works to preserve jobs for American industries.

Emergency Rental Assistance Program Relief Package

The Emergency Rental Assistance program makes available $25 billion to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

States, U.S. Territories, local governments, and Indian tribes will be provided with funding.

Grantees use the funds to provide assistance to eligible households through existing or newly created rental assistance programs.

Information for Governments

Moreover, the following will receive Emergency Rental Assistance Payments:

  • States (including the District of Columbia)
  • U.S. Territories (Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa)
  • Local governments with more than 200,000 residents
  • The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
  • Indian tribes (defined to include Alaska Native corporations) or the tribally designated housing entity of an Indian tribe, as applicable (collectively the “eligible grantees”)

Details on the data and methodology used to determine allocations for states, local governments, and territories may be accessed here. Further, the link includes details on the data, methodology, and payments for tribal communities.

A list of eligible local governments, which includes a county, municipality, town, township, village, parish, borough, or other unit of general government below the State level with a population that exceeds 200,000, may be accessed here.

Who is Eligible?

Eligible grantees must provide payment information and sign the acceptance of award terms form. 

Completed payment information and a signed acceptance of award terms form generally must have been submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on January 12, 2021, to ensure payments are made within the 30-day period specified by the statute.  

Eligible grantees that did not provide complete information by 11:59 p.m. EDT on January 12, 2021, may not receive an Emergency Rental Assistance payment. 

Some tribes or tribally-designated housing entities may not elect to participate in the program by providing the required payment materials. If so, the Treasury is required to reallocate funds to those tribes that have elected to participate in the program. 

Moreover, no less than 90% of awarded funds must be used for direct financial assistance. For instance, this includes rent, rental arrears, utilities, and home energy costs, utilities and home energy costs arrears, and other expenses related to housing. 

The remaining funds may be put towards house stability services. For example, this includes case management and other services intended to keep households stably housed, and administrative costs.

Most importantly, funds generally expire on December 31, 2021. You can access frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding the operation of the ERA program here

For questions about the relief package, always consult a Certified Public Accountant. Submitted by: Steve Stevens, Director, Assurance Services.  To ask Steve a question, email him here.  

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