Civix Experts Aid Governments to Leverage Federal Grants for COVID-19 Response

NEW ORLEANS (Sept. 23, 2020) – As communities across the United States continue grappling with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Civix is assisting state, local, tribal, and territorial governments (SLTTs) to leverage federal assistance through FEMA, HUD, the Treasury Department, and other federal sources for cost recovery, housing assistance, public services, and other pandemic related needs.

“Governments are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the pandemic. Congress has appropriated over $3 trillion in assistance, and funding is available through a broad array of federal programs,” said Ben Billings, Vice President with Civix’s Land & Grants Division, which has managed more than $200 billion in grants. “Our team of federal grant experts are providing consulting and technology services across dozens of federal programs, and we want to help as many state and local governments as possible as our nation continues responding to the pandemic.”

Civix’s program delivery experts are assisting in developing comprehensive and coordinated funding strategies and providing targeted technical assistance for a number of projects:

  • In the Tri-State area, Civix has been contracted by state budget and finance authorities to provide grant management software to administer more than $5 billion in federal assistance through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) which was established and funded under the CARES Act and is overseen by the U.S. Treasury Department.
  • In Louisiana, Civix is assisting Jefferson Parish and the City of Kenner to design HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) funded rental assistance programs to support the ongoing housing needs of communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Civix team serves as the regulatory policy advisor to both the parish and the city and has assisted with the development of both CDBG-CV and HOME-CV programs.
  • In South Carolina, Civix has been tasked by the South Carolina Division of Emergency Management (SCDEM) to assist state agencies, local governments, and eligible nonprofits across the state in documenting and obtaining reimbursement for their eligible COVID-19 expenses under the FEMA Public Assistance program.

Tapping into HUD CARES Act Funding

Congress appropriated $5 billion in Community Development Block Grant funding (CDBG-CV) under the CARES Act to support pandemic response. HUD has subsequently allocated the bulk of these funds and published guidance for their use. Civix is helping clients to swiftly design programs to utilize CDBG-CV funds and address community needs in compliance with HUD requirements.

In addition to CDBG-CV funding appropriated under the CARES Act, Civix is helping state and local governments to re-program previously allocated CDBG and HOME entitlement funds to address pandemic related needs. These include emergency rental and utility assistance, food support for vulnerable populations, job training for displaced workers, and assistance to small businesses to support employees returning to the workplace.

Leveraging or re-purposing CDBG and HOME funds may require changes to existing programs, policies, budgets, action plans, procurement vehicles, or methods of distribution. Civix is available to assist HUD grantees in navigating these tasks and implementing necessary waivers for requirements including citizen participation, plan amendments, the 15% cap on public services under CDBG, CAPER submissions, HOME coronavirus-related CV waivers and alternative requirements, duplication of benefits, and identification of national objectives served by CDBG-CV program activities.

Civix’s HUD subject matter experts, policy professionals, grant managers, and regulatory compliance specialists are available to help grantees access and use CDBG-CV, HOME, and ESG assistance and to re-program HUD funding for critical response and recovery services. Please contact Ted Guillot at [email protected] for assistance in fully leveraging HUD funding to address your state, territory, tribe, or community’s COVID-19 related needs.

Leveraging FEMA Public Assistance for Emergency Protective Measures

As a result of the President’s major disaster declarations in all 50 states and several territories, Public Assistance is available through FEMA to reimburse eligible expenses for emergency protective measures in relation to the pandemic. Civix’s grant management software is being used by all 18 of our State Emergency Management Agency clients to manage the distribution of these funds to other State Agencies, local jurisdictions, and eligible nonprofit organizations.

FEMA has published disaster specific guidance for the pandemic related to emergency procurement procedures, a streamlined application process, purchase, distribution, and delivery of food to vulnerable populations (including from restaurants which do not typically participate in SNAP or other USDA programs), use of temporary facilities for health care, education, child care or other essential needs, and numerous other topics. The agency is also approving reimbursement for hotel rooms for persons at risk of homelessness and health care workers who are self-quarantining, as well as distribution of diapers, baby formula, and other critical supplies to persons experiencing financial hardships.

Federal funding may also be available to satisfy the 25% cost-share for Public Assistance reimbursement for the pandemic through the Treasury Department’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) and HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Civix is helping multiple states to manage funding under both of these programs and is available to assist with coordination of funding to address cost-share requirements and prevent duplication of benefits, having designed and implemented protocols for both of these administrative functions under previous programs.

Civix’s Public Assistance policy professionals, grant management specialists, and program delivery experts are available to counsel state and local governments on eligible costs, documentation requirements, PA program procedures, and software implementation to track expenses and manage funding, including our EM Grants Manager platform, which is specifically designed for FEMA grant management and compatible with FEMA’s online systems. Whatever challenges your state or community may be facing, Civix’s professionals can help you to identify funding available to address unmet needs and assist with program design, implementation, reimbursement, and compliance. Please contact Ben Billings ([email protected]) for more information on our professional services to fully leverage funding opportunities under the FEMA Public Assistance program or Rod Thornhill ([email protected]) for information about our EM Grants Manager software to support FEMA program documentation, reporting, and compliance.