With more federal coronavirus relief likely, LA County scrutinizes impact of CARES dollars

With more federal coronavirus relief likely, LA County scrutinizes impact of CARES dollars

Gearing up for more federal coronavirus relief money, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Feb. 23, called for a detailed report on the impact of CARES Act dollars the county received last year.

A key element of the 2020 CARES Act was the Coronavirus Relief Fund, through which the county received $1.057 billion. Coupled with state funding, county coronavirus aid totaled $1.22 billion, which helped pay for such efforts as virus testing, food distribution, personal protective equipment, childcare, homeless housing and small business/nonprofit grants.

Officials want to assess how those dollars were spent, so they can project how to allocate potential funds from a $1.9 trillion aid package now on the table in Congress. The House Budget Committee advanced the package — all 591 pages of it — on Monday. The bill would provide $1,400 payments to millions of low- and middle-income people, increase child tax credits and offer extra $400 weekly federal unemployment benefits through August.

Concern, meanwhile, has deepened about communities suffering from disproportionate health outcomes from COVID-19 and  looming housing instability amid the pandemic-jolted economy.

“It is critical that we not only take stock of our efforts already funded with CRF, but also continued areas of need and lessons learned from the mammoth effort to launch more than $1 billion in new or dramatically expanded community-serving programs,” Supervisors Hilda Solis said in a statement. “This analysis and subsequent planning will position the County to deploy new stimulus funding quickly and with precision through high-value programs that reach those most in need.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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