Hamilton County has now allocated all but $150,000 of the federal money it received to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The county received $142.6 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act approved by Congress in March.
To date, the county has appropriated $142.45 million of that funding.
It's divided into four major areas:
- $36.80 million for public health response
- $8.25 million for assistance to vulnerable populations
- $54.35 million for community/economic assistance
- $43.05 million for county operational response
Specifically, the county is using $9 million for personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement and distribution; $19 million for COVID-19 testing; $26.5 million to reimburse communities for their COVID-19 responses; $14.5 million for rental and small business assistance; and $35 million for public safety personnel.
The federal money can only be used for COVID-19 related expenditures, and the funding must be spent by Dec. 30.
None of the federal funding can be used to stabilize the county's budget, which has also been impacted by the pandemic.
County Administrator Jeff Aluotto said Thursday the county is now accepting grant applications from county communities for expense reimbursements.
"So, we're really happy to have that particular grant out on the street to help all of our local political subdivisions who are feeling strain responding to COVID-19," Aluotto said.
The county is also setting aside $750,000 to help some non-profit organizations in the county "to expand public Wi-Fi to help residents and students access remote learning, connect to social services, and access workforce development resources."
"Think about a library or a rec center, or a Boys and Girls Club, or the YMCA, those kinds of facilities that have Wi-Fi but need to expand it out onto their grounds," Driehaus said. "So that if a person doesn't feel comfortable going inside or can't be inside, they can still access that Wi-Fi out on the grounds of the facility."
The county is also providing $3.5 million to assist local arts organizations who've been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
ArtsWave will be accepting and reviewing the applications for those grants, and the county expects to make awards in early December.
"Arts organizations typically derive between half and two-thirds of their annual operating budgets from earned income sources like ticket sales, sponsorships and contracts," said Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave president and CEO in a written statement. "The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for arts organizations that, like any other industry, have fixed costs and valuable employees. Relief from Hamilton County CARES Act funding will make a difference in the ability of the Cincinnati region’s arts and culture landscape to remain vibrant and viable."
Eligible applicants must be located in Hamilton County, and have arts and cultural programming as their core mission. Applications will be accepted on the ArtsWave website thru Oct. 23.