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Press Releases - County Council

Council to introduce Emergency Relief Package for local employers and vulnerable residents

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 23, 2020

Public Health Emergency Grant Program will allow emergency grant funding to small businesses, nonprofits, and renters

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 23, 2020 — On Tuesday the Council will introduce an emergency grant program and funding for small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the Novel Coronavirus pandemic and additional funding for programs aimed at supporting vulnerable residents.

The Public Health Emergency Grant Program, sponsored by all nine Councilmembers, will enable the County Executive to provide grant funding to small businesses and nonprofits that can demonstrate they’ve suffered financial distress as a result of the critical steps and mandated closures the County and State of Maryland have put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The Public Health Emergency Grant Program also includes a microgrant fund to help local businesses and nonprofits purchase teleworking equipment and technology to use during the public health emergency.

The Council will introduce two special appropriations on Tuesday to fund the $20 million Public Health Emergency Grant Program and to add $5 million for existing Department of Health and Human Services programs to help meet the increased funding need for safety-net programs directly serving vulnerable residents.

The Council plans to approve the legislation and special appropriations on an emergency basis at its March 31 session, authorizing the County Executive to immediately implement these measures.

The measures the Council will introduce Tuesday include:

Public Health Emergency Grant Program: Grant funding up to $75,000 per business or nonprofit for County businesses or nonprofits with 100 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees that can demonstrate financial losses caused by the public health emergency. Grant funding must be used for employee wages and benefits, taxes, debt, rent or other operating losses during the public health emergency.

Grant program includes microgrant funding for local businesses and nonprofits up to $2,500 to purchase teleworking equipment and technology, to support teleworking capabilities during the COVID-19 emergency.

Special Appropriation for the Public Health Emergency Grant Program: A $20 million special appropriation for the Fiscal Year 2020 Operating Budget will be introduced to finance the Public Health Emergency Grant Program is requested for the County’s Economic Development Fund. The source of the funds is the County’s General Fund Reserves. The impact of the special appropriation will be offset by the County Executive’s recommended reduction of FY20 expenditures from the Retiree Health Benefits Trust Non-Department Account based on the new actuarial evaluation lowering the required contribution.

Special Appropriation for Department of Health and Human Services Support for COVID-19 Response: A $5 million special appropriation to the Department of Health and Human Services will be introduced to support the increased need for funding existing County safety-net programs serving vulnerable populations.

The Council staff report and the full text of Bill 16-20, the COVID-19 Economic Relief Act, can be found here.
Information on the supplemental appropriations will be posted here by March 24.


Release ID: 20-106
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926, Juan Jovel 240-777-7931