The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has approved funding to continue the County’s COVID-19 Public Health and Human Services response. The funding will support not only emergency public health efforts, but also economic recovery in the form of rental assistance, utility assistance, services for those experiencing homelessness, and the continuation of the County’s funeral assistance program.
“These programs are providing much-needed help to Maricopa County residents who are struggling as a result of the pandemic,” said Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman, District 4. “With CARES Act funding coming to an end, the Board wanted to ensure that critical community needs would still be met in 2021.”
The Board allocated over $36 million in CARES Act funding for a crisis rental assistance program. Since mid-July, the County-managed COVID Crisis Rental Assistance program has provided financial assistance to 1,948 landlords and more than 5,300 households in Maricopa County. That amounts to 16,696 months (or $28.2 million) of paid rent to date, with the goal of preventing evictions. An additional $10 million of County general funds will be used to help approximately 2,000 additional households over the next three months. Completed applications that were submitted but were not able to receive CARES Act funding assistance will be the households primarily served.
The Board originally allocated $6 million in CARES Act funding for a crisis utility assistance program as many people who struggle to pay rent also struggle with utility bill costs during this pandemic. Today’s vote allocates an additional $3 million to that program, which will be used to help approximately 2,300 households avoid disconnection of utilities.
To continue its COVID-19 response services for those experiencing homelessness, $4.3 million in general fund dollars will be used to continue providing isolation housing for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and for those who are most vulnerable. Funding will also provide transportation, safe outdoor space, and temporary overnight shelter needed due to reduced shelter capacity.
“The need is vast and it is real across our community,” said Bruce Liggett, Director of Maricopa County Human Services Department, which administers these programs. “I am grateful to the Board of Supervisors for supporting our efforts to keep families in their homes during the holidays and beyond, and to help those without a home find a safe refuge where they can be connected to the services that may help them end their homelessness. These programs make a difference, and the additional funding will be put to efficient and effective use to ensure this.”
The bulk of CARES Act spending has been directed to combating the pandemic, with millions allocated and spent on case investigation, contact tracing, testing services, personal protective equipment, and emergency preparedness and response. The Board today allocated more than $20 million to continue these efforts as well as to coordinate distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Maricopa County. Correctional Health Services also received an additional $675,000 to support their efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in county jails.
Maricopa County received $399 million from the U.S. Treasury as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The purpose of this money is to cover expenditures related to the public health emergency that were not already included in fiscal year 2020 budget.
To learn more about COVID-19 assistance programs offered by Maricopa County, visit Maricopa.gov/TakeCare.