Los Angeles County is set to receive more than $20 million in federal dollars through the coronavirus relief bill -- or CARES Act, and the Board of Supervisors Tuesday authorized the County Development Authority to administer those funds.
That includes an expected $13.6 million in Community Development Block Grant funds to be used to help residents with temporary rental assistance, grab-and-go/delivery meal programs, business assistance to retain low- and moderate-income employees and other COVID-19 response services.
Nationally, $5 billion will be distributed through the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Fund under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act signed by the president on March 27. The first phase of funds is expected in late April, with the balance to be disbursed on a rolling basis.
Of the 88 cities in Los Angeles County, 48 will get their funding through the county's allocation, while others will receive money directly from the federal government. Of the $13.6 million, about 40% will go to the 48 cities, with the balance being spent by the county.
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Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the need is urgent as businesses call her office daily wondering if they will be able to survive this economic downturn.
"The CARES Act is a local lifeline," Barger said. "The goal is to get the money in and out the door quickly."
Barger also said she believes Congress is considering additional funding.
"The need far exceeds what Washington is sending," Barger said. "I think this is a good start."
In addition to the CDBG dollars, the county will receive more than $6 million in Emergency Solutions Grant funding, almost all of which will be allocated to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to assist homeless individuals impacted by the coronavirus.
The CDBG funding comes during a week designated to celebrate the success of community block grants.
"As we commemorate National Community Development Week, we are reminded how the CDBG Program has demonstrated time and again its value to Los Angeles County," LACDA acting Executive Director Emilio Salas said.
The LACDA administers the largest Urban County CDBG Program in the nation, serving over a million residents in the county's unincorporated areas and an additional 1.4 million living in the 48 participating cities.
The program is designed to let local governments take the lead in identifying and addressing community needs. In less extraordinary times, the funding goes to residents with limited means to rehabilitate housing, spur economic development and provide public services for seniors, youth and homeless individuals. Funds have also been used in the past to help residents recover from the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the 2008 recession.
Allocations depend on census data and the LACDA urged residents to complete the 2020 Census in order to maximize federal resources. The census can be mailed in or completed online at my2020census.gov.