CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds

How the City has leveraged funding to support the community and continuation of services

En EspaƱol


The effects of COVID-19 have been widespread throughout our community. Families and individuals, local businesses, arts and entertainment venues, and those experiencing homelessness have all suffered greatly, while our community has navigated through these difficult times together. Additionally, the City prepared for deep cuts and the resulting effects on City operations and services in the face of unknown potential budget impacts.

Federal funding provided through the CARES Act offered some relief to our community. The Tucson Mayor and Council took decisive action through a Coronavirus Relief Strategic Plan to allocate funds to support the community and ensure continuity of City operations and services.

The resources below will provide more information on the funding the City has received and how that funding has been used in the organization and the community to combat the effects of COVID-19 on our community.

What is the CARES Act?

To ease the financial strain of COVID-19 mitigation and response measures, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The various aid available through the CARES Act is known collectively as the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), with each state receiving a minimum allocation of $1.25 billion. Local governments with a population of at least 500,000, like the City of Tucson, were eligible for direct payments.

The use of CRF funds is restricted to expenses:

  • Directly related to COVID-19
  • Not included in any budget approved before March 27, 2020
  • Incurred in the 2020 calendar year

Although CRF funds cannot be used to backfill lost revenues, further guidance was provided on what expenses are eligible. This guidance not only clarifies but restricts the use of the funding.

What is the City of Tucson's CRF Allocation?

Because of the population, the City of Tucson was eligible for a direct allocation of $95.6 million. The Mayor and Council adopted a strategic plan to leverage these dollars to support the operations and services provided by the City and the community struggling from the effects of COVID-19.

The Council allocated funding between three main categories:

  • $51.6 million to Community Investment and Support
  • $41.1 million to Continuity of City Operations and Services
  • $2.8 million to City Manager Allocate/Committed Funds
  • Surplus allocations diverted to expand and support community testing

Below, you can dive into these categories to learn more about how the funding was allocated and the impact it has had in the community and organization.

MaskUp Tucson Logo

Our community, like many, was hit hard, and though we are primed to bounce back faster than most, our residents needed immediate relief. The Mayor and Council allocated $51.6 million to eight community priorities including: support for small businesses, ensuring better health outcomes & testing, and rent/utility assistance.

Click on the image above to learn more about Community Investment and Support.

Downtown Tucson Skyline and Small Business

While many expenses were unknown, the City Manager immediately identified areas in which the City would need to support the community and organization. The Mayor and Council allocated $2.8 million to those six priorities, including: homeless isolation housing, employee support, and EMS/Public Safety call response management.

Click on the image above to learn more about City Manager Allocated/Committed Funds.

City services such as water, trash & recycle, and parks & recreation

First and foremost, the City had to ensure continuity of operations and services. City leadership analyzed and planned what was needed to continue business at the highest level possible. The Mayor and Council allocated $41.1 to seven related priorities, including: payroll expense reimbursement, telework/e-government, and PPE/cleaning.

Click on the image above to learn more about Continuity of Operations and Services.