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CARES Act and grant funding: How it will benefit local fire and EMS response

The Act provides $150 billion for a Coronavirus Relief Fund to make payments to local governments


The CARES Act provides $150 billion for a Coronavirus Relief Fund and was signed into law on March 27.

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The CARES Act provides $150 billion for a Coronavirus Relief Fund to make payments to states and tribal governments as well as direct payments to some very large units of local government within 30 days of the enacted date.

This bill was signed into law on March 27.

Following is a breakdown of how the $150 billion will be allocated for grants for state and local governments responding to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Approximately $139 billion will be allocated by population of a state/units of local government. No local government may receive more than 45% of a state’s proportion. Each state will receive a minimum of $1.25 billion. Find estimated state allocations here.
  • $8 billion will be allocated to tribal governments.
  • $3 billion will be allocated to U.S. territories, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the North Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

Funds can be used for costs that:

  • Are necessary expenditures incurred due to COVID-19;
  • Were not in the budget most recently approved as of the date of enactment; and
  • Were incurred from March 1, 2020, through Dec. 30, 2020.

An additional $35 million will go toward Treasury oversight.

FUNDING FOR PROGRAMS Directly benefiting Fire & EMS Response

Within the $150 billion, virus response resources include the following:

  • $45.4 billion for a FEMA Disaster Relief Fund that includes $400 million in grants for firefighters ($100 million in Assistance to Firefighter Grants), emergency managers, and emergency food programs
  • $1.5 billion for CDC State and Local Preparedness grants
  • $955 million for HHS Aging and Disabled program resources and grants
  • $850 million for DOJ Byrne Grants and Byrne Justice Assistance Grants
  • $425 million for HHS SAMHSA funding for behavioral health clinics and emergency grants
  • $200 million for Federal Communications Commission telehealth program grants

Please note that we have received notice that the additional funds for the Assistance to Firefighter Grants will be rolled into current funding levels for Fiscal Year 2020 and awarded to local governments through the typical grant application process.

Additional grants are available from the CARES Act to local government via Social Services Resources, Housing Assistance Resources, Education System Stabilization Resources, state and local election assistance grants via Election Assistance Commission, Economic & Infrastructure Rebuilding Resources, and Support for Local Businesses.


Sarah Wilson is the Vice President of the Grant Division at Lexipol. She has been with the company since 2007 and started the Grant services division in 2009. The mission of Lexipol is to use content and technology to create safer communities and empower the men, women and organizations that serve them. Sarah’s team is responsible for generating nearly $500M in funding and currently servicing a network of 60k departments and municipalities for grant help as well as supporting 60 corporate sponsors. Prior to Lexipol, Sarah held various marketing and organizational management positions within financial services. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Davis. A west coaster her entire life, Sarah was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, raised in Southern California and currently calls Sonoma County home.