The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security CARES Act is in the hands.

The Dallas County Commissioner’s Court discussed programs they invested in during the pandemic to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19.

County Administrator Darryl Martin updated the Dallas County Commissioners Court on the use of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) funding and American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding.

The county received $239 million in CARES funding. The funds were used for community programs with $88.4 million, public health initiatives at $112.9 million and administration costs at $21.2 million.

The county’s community program funding helped stabilize around 500 businesses and 1518 households as well as 26 food pantries.

Public health initiatives included contact tracing services, quarantine housing for patients who cannot quarantine at home, cleaning equipment and services and vaccinations.

Martin said the biggest challenge was cleaning the jail and juvenile center as they are the second largest in the state.

The remaining $16.5 million will need to be spent before Dec. 31.

ARP funding totaled $511 million. The county received $255 million in May and spent $111 million on mental health services for residents, $ 35 million on infrastructure, $20 million on efforts to mitigate negative economic impacts of COVID-19 and $110 million on community programs like nonprofit investments, rehabilitation homes and programs to mitigate homelessness in Dallas County.

The remaining $255 million is expected to be delivered in May 2022. All $511 million will need to be spent by 2024.

Approved use of the funding includes response to public health emergencies, recovering from economic impacts of COVID-19, governmental use to recover from revenue loss, helping essential workers and infrastructure.

“One of the things the Biden administration requested is that local governments be made whole,” Martin said. “During the pandemic, a lot of governments at the time had to let go of critical staff at a time when staff was most needed.”

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