Here’s how to apply for COVID relief funds in 2 N.J. counties. Other places still planning.
All 21 New Jersey counties are drawing up plans for how to make their share of billions in COVID-19 federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act available to the public. Two, Camden and Cumberland, confirmed they have programs that are live right now.
The federal relief money totals $10.2 billion for New Jersey and its municipalities — with various struggling sectors still waiting for allocations like the childcare industry and transit systems.
Unlike the $1.8 billion New Jersey received under the $2 trillion CARES Act, there are fewer restrictions on how states and localities can use their federal funds. However, officials said they must ensure U.S. Treasury Department guidelines are met to avoid future claw-backs — when funds are found to be erroneously spent and thus recalled.
NJ Advance Media contacted all New Jersey counties regarding American Rescue Plan Act funds. Five did not immediately respond with information, two provided details on available funds for residents and 14 said they are still finalizing dispensations.
Interim federal rules indicate that funds are intended to help organizations and businesses hurt by COVID-19, aid essential workers, assist governments that lost revenue during the health emergency and bolster water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.
Counties in the Garden State have until 2024 to obligate the money and 2026 to spend it.
John Donnadio, executive director of the Trenton-based non-partisan organization, the New Jersey Association of Counties, said counties received half of their full American Rescue Plan funds this year. The other half is expected in 2022.
Camden and Cumberland said applications recently opened to access a $19 million portion of the federal rescue support for those who’ve taken a financial hit due to the ongoing pandemic.
Camden County, which expects to receive $98 million in federal aid in the next year, has made $10 million in coronavirus relief available for small businesses and $8 million for non-profits.
Christina Renna, president and chief executive officer of the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said despite the ability for businesses to reopen, the foot traffic at stores and restaurants in the county is “nowhere near pre-pandemic levels.”
The $8 million non-profit aid will provide individual organizations with as much as $500,000 in grants.
“On behalf of the 18 American Legion posts that reside within Camden County, (this grant program) could not come at a better time. COVID-19 unfortunately has forced many posts to close across the nation due to the inability to raise funds to support various veterans’ programs,” Camden County American Legion Post commander John Brouse said in a statement. “Our veterans deserve the best and these funds will help us continue our mission, assisting veterans within the great county of Camden.”
The deadline for non-profits and small businesses to apply for the respective programs in Camden County is Nov. 30.
Small businesses can apply at www.camdencountyrecovers.com or by calling (856) 389-6704. Non-profits can submit applications via mail or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more visit www.camdencounty.com.
Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen said a $15 million CARES Act recovery program is also still online, with more funds toward rental assistance expected soon. To apply visit www.camdenrentgrant.com.
Cumberland County will ultimately receive $29 million in American Rescue Plan Act pandemic relief. A county spokeswoman said residents in Cumberland County can access about $622,000 for small business assistance and $200,000 from a coronavirus cultural, recreational and hospitality grant program.
Both programs are on a first-come first-serve basis and no specific deadline has been set. To access the small business help visit www.theauthoritynj.com/grants/ and to apply for cultural, recreational, and hospitality grants visit www.co.cumberland.nj.us.
New Jersey will also distribute $2.4 billion as part of its recovery plan. The state expects to spend $750 million for renters and landlords, $600 million for students with disabilities and $450 million toward its three level 1 trauma centers. The money for the hospitals — University Hospital in Newark, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick and Cooper University Health in Camden — will be used to get ready for the next public health emergency.
“The administration, in consultation with the legislature, is evaluating the most optimal and far-reaching uses of federal stimulus money,” said Michael Zhadanovsky, a Gov. Phil Murphy spokesman.
Morris County is still organizing how it will spend about $95 million in American Rescue Plan relief. However, the county did announce in July it would commit $100,000 to mitigate costs for vendors at the upcoming Morristown Festival on the Green in October.
South in Hunterdon County, where residents can expect $24 million in new COVID aid, officials have held a series of community meetings.
“I believe long term community resiliency can be achieved through these funds being used to cover projects that strengthen and promote public health, enable our communities to better withstand a future public health emergency, enhance county government’s capacity to respond to large scale disruptions, including expanded communication and collaboration, and projects and programs that can strengthen the quality of life and safety of vulnerable populations,” Hunterdon County Commissioner Susan Soloway said Tuesday during a commissioner’s meeting.
Somerset County spokesman Nathan Rudy said the region wants to “maximize” American Rescue Plan funds “for residents and small businesses.”
He noted that the county has a different — non-American Rescue Plan — $7.7 million emergency rental assistance program open to applicants. To learn more click here.
New Jersey’s federal American Rescue Plan aid was first announced in May. It will be distributed to counties as follows:
Federal allocations in stimulus bill to N.J. counties
Cape May 17,877,497
Source : https://www.nj.com/coronavirus/2021/09/heres-how-to-apply-for-covid-relief-funds-in-2-nj-counties-others-places-still-planning.html