CARES Act Funding

On March 27, 2020 Congress passed and the president signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which established a new $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) for state, county and municipal governments with populations of over 500,000 people to address necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.


With an allocation of $145 million, the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Board of Commissioners acted swiftly and decisively to create programs to provide immediate relief to businesses, non-profits, child care centers and individuals across the County impacted by COVID-19 as detailed below.


Breakdown of CARES Act Funding

CARES Act spending in Montgomery County, PA can be categorized into three major program areas:


Economic and Community Assistance – funding includes assisting businesses, not-for-profit entities, childcare centers, educational entities, food pantries and residents in need of a rent/utility assistance.


Emergency Response and Public Health – funding includes public safety and public health initiatives mitigating and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic including testing, contact tracing, sheltering for the homeless, special human health services programs, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and preparation for the vaccination period.


County Operations – primarily personnel costs for staff substantially dedicated to responding to the public health emergency. In addition, PPE, public health and public safety equipment, facility upgrades and HVAC improvements, information technology improvements and other operational costs directly relating to COVID-19 needs.

10 Major CARES Act Programs

Montgomery County implemented ten (10) major CARES Act programs to assist the community and businesses with recovery efforts in 2020.


  1. Montco Strong Small Business Grant Fund Program
  2. School District COVID-19 Support Program
  3. Montco Cares Grant Program
  4. Emergency Rent and Utility Relief Program
  5. Montco Strong Nonprofit Resiliency and Restoration Grant Program
  6. Montgomery County Community College Assistance
  7. Montco Food Pantry Assistance Program
  8. Food Security Assistance and Workforce Development Program
  9. Grant Funding for Elmwood Park Zoo
  10. Make it Main Street Marketing Initiative

Montco Strong Small Business Grant Fund Program

$16 million


Recognizing the need to provide support to strengthen our local businesses and communities, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners established the MontcoStrong Small Business Grant Fund Program to provide small businesses located in Montgomery County financial support as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.


The Reporter $15m school funding screenshot

School District COVID-19 Support Program

$15 million


School districts within the County have been forced to absorb large and unanticipated costs as they work to educate students in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.


To assist school districts within the County, the Montgomery County Commissioners allocated a portion of the CARES Act funding to each District, pursuant to the funding formula established by Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which provides financial assistance to local educational agencies based upon need.


Montco Cares Grant Program

$12 million


With over 400 active child care centers in Montgomery County, keeping children safe is critical to the health and safety of Montgomery County households and is also a major contributing factor in the recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.


To support Montgomery County families and child care providers adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners developed the MontCo Cares Program. MontCo Cares is a two-prong approach that supports both providers and families.


This program helps to ensure the financial viability of Montgomery County child care centers that have experienced disruption due to the COVID-19 global pandemic by providing grant funding to pay for qualifying expenses.


The Montco Cares Program provides families in Montgomery County with financial support to assist them in paying for child care for children enrolled in a Pennsylvania Department of Human Services licensed child care facility.


Montco Cares Daycare Program

Montco Strong 2021 Restaurant Grant Program

$6 million


Recognizing the importance of the restaurant and food service industry as a cornerstone of Montgomery County’s economic and workforce development as well as central to the growth of entrepreneurship, job opportunities, and our communities, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners is making available up to $6 million county economic development funds to support restaurants and other food service businesses as we move through the next phase of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Emergency Rent and Utility Relief Program

$5.8 million


The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners provided funding to renters and lanlords experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Through the Emergency Rent and Utility Relief Program the County provided housing stability to hundreds of low and moderate-income Montgomery County residents at risk of eviction and/or homelessness as a direct result of COVID-19.


  • Distributed $4.7 million dollars in rent and utility relief to almost 1,000 households in Montgomery County.
  • The PHFA Rent Relief Program delivered $1.8 million in rent relief to 545 households in Montgomery County.

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Montco Strong Nonprofit Grant Program - Reporter Article

Montco Strong Nonprofit Resiliency and Restoration Grant Program

$5 million


The Coronavirus pandemic created a hardship on nonprofit organizations that assist and help others throughout our community. To support these groups and help them continue the work they do every day, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners provided 501(c)3 entities with financial support.


This programs ensures that 501(c)3s are able to be active participants in the restoration of the wellbeing and the livelihood of our residents, communities, and County.


  • 183 applications received
  • 165 grant awards distributed for a total of $3.8 million (Maximum grant award of $40,000)
  • 127 applicants funded in full, 38 applicants received a partial award

Montgomery County Community College Assistance

$1.1 million


Montgomery County is aware that the Montgomery County Community College has had increased costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist the College, the Board of Commissioners has allocated Coronavirus Relief funds for qualified expenses.

Montgomery County Community College Tuition Assistance Program

Montco Food Pantry Assistance Program

$2 million


Food pantries are a critical component in ensuring that those in need have access to basic food and necessities, and are often the only source of free healthy and nutritious food in a neighborhood.


There are dozens of food pantries in Montgomery County, with many barely able to keep pace with the demand on their resources in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic impact.


Recognizing this need, the Montgomery County Commissioners allocated funds to support these food pantries to ensure they are able to continue providing their essential services.


Through the Montgomery County Food Pantry Assistance Program, the County is providing financial and logistical assistance for documented needs such as the purchase of food, supplies, and equipment.


Food Security Assistance and Workforce Development Program

$1 million


As a result of the economic impacts of COVID-19, many Montgomery County residents may have difficulty affording nutritious food for themselves and their families.


To combat food insecurity and bolster workforce development for Montgomery County residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Commissioners approved $1 million for the County’s Food Security Assistance and Workforce Development Program.


Through a partnership with the YWCA Tri-County Area and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, this program will work to alleviate food insecurity for families and children while improving employment skills and the opportunity for self-reliance for adults.

Norristown Farm Park
Elmwood Park Zoo Wild Nights

Grant Funding for Elmwood Park Zoo

$500,000


Montgomery County is aware that the Elmwood Park Zoo, which is a major driver of tourism in the County, has seen increased costs and a significant decrease in revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


To help to ensure the long-term economic viability of the Zoo, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners provided $500,000 in grant funding to be used by the Zoo on qualified expenses.

Make it Main Street Marketing Initiative

$300,000


In order to help put our small businesses and other heavily impacted attractions and sectors at the forefront of our economic development response, the Commerce Department and the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board are working together on a combination of COVID-19 response actions.


This initiative aims to restart business activity and reinvigorate communities in Montgomery County and focuses on recovery of small businesses and local communities. Support of “main street” businesses will in turn provide support for Montgomery County Communities.


Through this initiative the County is working to develop promotional content that increase tourism and business throughout the County.

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Summary of Emergency Response and Public Operations Expenses in Montgomery County

COVID-19 Contract Tracing (includes new Public Health staff and outsourced services)


COVID-19 Contract Testing (County-wide testing commenced mid-summer 2020, includes testing at Montgomery County Correctional Facility)


HVAC Deep Cleaning and Replacement of Air Handling Units at MCCF


Emergency Management Consulting Services


Public Health and Public Safety Vehicle and Equipment Acquisition


New Public Health staffing to Support Ongoing Emergency Operations


Information Technology Hardware and Software (Enhanced security and software services)

Public Safety Motorola Radio System Upgrade (provides remote access to service public safety radios County-wide)


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)


Election Capital and Operational Expenses (includes unanticipated costs to manage both elections in 2020)


County-wide Facility Improvements to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19


Eligible Personnel Costs (base wages, overtime, emergency supplemental pay and fring benefit costs for employees presumed substantially dedicated to responding to the public health emergency)

Funding Levels Remain Uncertain at the State and Federal Levels


  • The County continues to expand testing capacity with a target of 2,400 daily tests – at that level the cost is $1.2 million per week.

  • The County has added over 60 Public Health employees to assist with contract tracing, testing and vaccinations in 2021.

  • The County has incurred significant costs to enhance Public Safety and Public Heath operations while dealing with the pandemic and preparing for the year ahead.

  • The pandemic has negatively impacted the County’s revenues in 2020 and 2021 is under pressure with the current surge in COVID-19 cases.

Capitol Building Washington DC

Additional Help is on the Way

The $900 billion stimulus package approved by Congress in December 2020 contains additional funding for states and municipalities. Montgomery County, Pennsylvania will continue to apply for additional funds to provide crucial assistance to its residents as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

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Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

P.O. Box 311

Norristown, PA 19404

www.montcopa.org