Pinellas CARES Fund Offers Emergency Relief to Individuals and Businesses

Individuals, families and small businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic can now get emergency financial assistance through the County with the new Pinellas CARES fund.

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 approved the Pinellas CARES financial relief programs, which are funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance for Individuals

This fund provides one-time financial assistance to individuals and families who have lost jobs or significant income due to COVID-19 to help pay for overdue rent, mortgage and utility bills. Residents can text COVIDCARES to 898211 to apply for assistance.

Eligibility for Individuals

Documentation of the following will be required for all requests: 

  • Job or income loss directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. your workplace shut down under state or local orders): You will be required to provide documentation. Examples include pay stubs, a letter from employer, proof of employer business closure.
  • Income restrictions apply: For example, income for a 1-person household cannot exceed $2,127 (or $4,367 for a 4-person household) during the month in which the assistance is applied for, with no more than $4,000 in liquid assets (cash, savings and checking).
  • Pinellas County Residency: Proof may include a driver's license or utility bill with current address
  • Legal Status: Proof of U.S. Citizenship, including naturalized citizens or another legal residency (i.e. permanent residents)

Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance will be managed by 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares and Pinellas County. Learn more

Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants

Pinellas CARES Small Business Grants will assist local businesses that had to close or significantly reduce operations due to the pandemic and the resulting statewide orders to curb the spread of the virus. Grants are limited to businesses with a commercial location in the county.

This program will offer $5,000 grants to small businesses to cover expenses such as employee wages, vendor bills and mortgage or rent costs.

This program is strictly limited to businesses physically located in Pinellas County.

Eligibility Overview

  • $5,000 for qualifying small businesses with a physical location in Pinellas County (1-25 full-time employees, or equivalent part-time employees, including the owner)
  • Restaurants, bars, short-term lodging and other nonessential businesses impacted by the local or state safer-at-home orders are eligible
  • Larger businesses, non-profits and home-based businesses are not eligible
  • Funds can be used to pay employee wages, vendors, rent or other business expenses
  • No reimbursement is required
  • Businesses can only apply for this one-time assistance program to cover COVID-19 related costs that have not already been paid for by insurance or by another federal program.

Starting Monday, May 4, eligible small businesses will be able to apply online. Those interested in participating in this program are encouraged to review all qualifications before applying to expedite the process.

Updates about both programs, including the grant application, will be available this week here

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