How Cities Can Get Federal Funds for COVID-19

The federal government is making over 2 trillion dollars available through the CARES act. Of this, around $150 billion will be made available to states. You can see how much each state will receive here. We compiled a few resources to help you navigate the process of getting some of this money for your city.

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The federal allocated $4 billion allocated for homeless assistance through the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG). Eligible uses include emergency shelter operations, street outreach, expanded staffing, and other services to protect homeless and at-risk populations from COVID-19. Please check out the Homelessness Programs Toolkit for further information. You can learn about applying for HUD grants here.


Assistance from FEMA is available, if your city didn’t receive funding from the HHS/CDC or other federal agency. Under the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration, FEMA may provide funds for:

You can check out this fact sheet about FEMA grants: Procurement Under Grants Conducted Under Exigent or Emergency Circumstances


Nearly $850 million has been allocated for the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program. The funding is intended to be used for overtime, equipment, hiring, medical supplies, training, travel expenses, and addressing the medical needs of inmates in jails and detention centers.


The US Conference of mayors released this information on the City Fiscal Tracker and Federal Reimbursement Initiative, including a webinar, a municipal guide, and a FAQ sheet.

The municipal guide will be very useful to cities, as it provides an in-depth review of the application process, eligibility, and critical issues to consider. They even provide a checklist at the bottom of the document, some of which suggests:

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

The CARES Act authorizes a $5 billion allocation to the CDBG program for provision of services for senior citizens, the homeless, and public health services to address COVID-19.

Available Funds put together a list of over 500 funds to help out during the coronavirus. You can check and see if your city is eligible for some financial aid there.

A Guide to Using Funds Effectively

This excellent guide from Mckinsey suggests steps city leaders can consider to ensure maximum impact from federal aid.

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Thank you for looking through our blog. We hope the resources provided were helpful. If you have resources you’d like to add, please email me and we’ll update our blog. If you’d like to join our community of city leaders, please consider joining UrbanLeague.