Commission approves new Pinellas CARES programs for COVID-19 relief

Do you qualify?       

  • Job or income loss directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. your workplace shut down under state or local orders) Updated requirement: You must sign a form attesting that your job or income was impacted directly by COVID-19.
  • Asset limits Updated requirement: You must attest that you have no more than $10,000 in you cash, checking and savings.
  • Residency: You must submit a copy or photo showing both Pinellas County and U.S. residency (examples: driver’s license, utility bill, birth certificate, passport).

PINELLAS COUNTY — After providing financial relief to thousands of residents and small business owners through current Pinellas CARES programs, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a new round of funding to support an even broader range of individuals and local businesses affected by COVID-19.

The additional programs funded by $170 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will also strengthen local public health efforts to fight coronavirus, including additional supplies, equipment and support for community testing.

The new Pinellas CARES programs will immediately broaden eligibility for individuals and families who need help with overdue rent, mortgage or utility bills. Anyone who has lost a job or significant income due to COVID-19 can now apply for a maximum of $5,000 in assistance per household during the period starting March 1, 2020.

To qualify, applicants now only need to sign an attestation form affirming their loss of income was directly related to COVID-19 and provide documentation of their residency in the county and United States.

Those who did not previously qualify for the program or who already got help but need more assistance can reapply by texting COVIDCARES to 898211.

The County also plans to ramp up community support for applicants to help more people navigate the process and expedite approval of assistance.

Other approved Pinellas CARES programs

Please note: Details about the below programs and how to apply will be shared in the coming weeks as operations are established to start accepting and processing applications.

New Small Business Programs: A large portion of funding will be committed to helping more businesses that did not qualify for the first round of Small Business Grants, such as daycare providers, home-based businesses, professional artists and other business types.

Nonprofit Services: Support for nonprofits and other organizations that have seen a spike in service needs during the pandemic, such as feeding programs, behavioral health and legal assistance to prevent evictions

Pandemic Response: Increased local capacity for testing, contact tracing, skilled nursing, personal protective equipment (PPE), community health educators, and other public health measures.

The County developed the above programs based on broad public input, including an online community conversation and a survey that garnered 1,114 responses.

More Pinellas CARES program information can be found at cares.pinellas.gov. Program requirements have been updated so more residents qualify for help. Text COVIDCARES to 898211 to start the process.

BCC extends State of Local Emergency

With a continued high volume of daily COVID-19 cases across the state and in Pinellas County, the BCC also voted Tuesday to extend the County’s State of Local Emergency Declaration with no changes through July 17.

The extension allows County Administrator Barry A. Burton to authorize expenditures needed to ensure public safety, such as replenishing personal protection equipment supplies, and further positions the County to seek federal reimbursement of expenses.

Face coverings still required in Pinellas County

As approved at the June 23 BCC meeting, face coverings are required at most indoor public places in Pinellas County. Face coverings are increasingly shown to limit the spread of the virus from people whether they have symptoms or not.

Face covering distribution sites are listed at covid19.pinellascounty.org/free-face-masks/.

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