Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund

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The next public engagement session will be held on Wednesday, May 11 at noon.  This is the link to participate via Zoom.  The link will be active 15 minutes prior to the session.  Staff will provide updates on the use of ARPA funding.



The City Council has approved a process for providing grants to non-profit organizations to fund “transformative” programs that address such social and economic needs as poverty alleviation, job training and economic mobility.

Up to $10.5 million could be allocated for transformative grants: Up to $7 million could be earmarked for social assistance programs in such areas as poverty alleviation and economic mobility. The other $3.5 million could be set aside for economic assistance programs in the areas of job training, economic development and small business assistance.

Grant proposals will be accepted from any registered non-profit organization that has been in business for at least a year. There is no minimum or maximum grant amount that an organization may request. A virtual orientation will be held at 10 am on Friday, April 1, to go over the transformative grants program application.

The orientation will be held via Zoom and will livestream on CityofWS.org/YouTube. Viewers who want to ask questions should sign in to participate in the briefing and pose questions through the chat box. This is the link to participate. The link will not be active until 15 minutes before the briefing starts. 

In addition to the local recovery grants, qualified homeowners may be eligible for assistance through the N.C. Homeowners Assistance Fund. More information and a link is posted in the Other Pandemic Relief section further down this page.

The transformative grants are the second phase for spending $51.7 million coming to Winston-Salem through the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.

The first phase allocated $3 million in recovery grants for small businesses and non-profits. This phase also included $1.35 million for crime prevention, $1.5 million in premium payments to city employees in jobs that required them to regularly interact with the public or coworkers during the COVID-19 pandemic and work in public during the pandemic, and a $100,000 matching grant to provide legal counsel to residents facing eviction due to the pandemic.

The city staff is recommending that up to $20 million be reserved for addressing the city’s housing needs, $7.75 million be reserved to make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic, and up to $2.55 million be reserved to cover administrative costs.

Details about the phase 1 are available in this PowerPoint presentation, or watch a video of the presentation to the City Council.


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Background


The city is slated to receive $51.7 million from the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. Money for the fund was included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that Congress passed in March 2021. The money is being delivered in two batches: half was delivered in May 2021; the other half is scheduled to be delivered in May 2022.

The Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund is designed to give cities flexibility in responding to the health emergency and in funding projects, programs, or organizations that were economically impacted by the pandemic. In addition to programs specific to pandemic response and recovery, certain improvements to water, sewer and broadband infrastructure also can be funded, as well as programs or improvements for low-income census tracts.

Proposed Spending Principles

The city staff is recommending that allocation decisions be guided by these principles:

  • Transparency. The city will be open and transparent with all uses of ARPA funds, including holding public input sessions and creating public-facing dashboards.

  • Restoration. The city will use part of the funds to provide assistance to city operations and the local economy affected by COVID-19.

  • Transformation. The city will be outcome-oriented in the use of funds and will document progress made is specific and in strategic priority areas.

  • Fiscal Soundness. Because the funds are one-time in nature, the city will seek not to create recurring obligations using these funds.

  • Equity. All program and grant expenditures will undergo an equity review to ensure resources are equitably distributed throughout the community.

The staff is recommending that initial allocations be targeted at coronavirus response, mitigation, relief, and restoration efforts. Later the council could consider funding longer-term "transformative" initiatives to address such issues as affordable housing, workforce development, early childhood education and other underlying social and health conditions. 

These are the guidelines that the council must follow:

Spending Guidelines

Can be used for:  

  • Restoring local government revenue lost due to the pandemic, and government services affected by the loss of revenue.

  • Making up for the economic impact caused by COVID-19 by providing grants to small businesses, non-profits, households and tourism, hospitality and the arts.

  • Providing a pay supplement to local government workers performing essential work, or to provide grants to businesses with employees performing essential work.

  • Financing water, sewer and broadband projects.

  • Programs related to health, crime, housing, employment, and childhood education in low-income census tracts, also known as qualified census tracts (QCTs).

 Cannot be used for:

  • Cannot be used to reduce the tax rate.

  • Cannot be used to delay a new tax or tax increase.

  • Cannot be deposited into pension funds.

Other Pandemic Relief

In addition to the $51.7 million the city will receive through the American Rescue Plan, Congress appropriated money for a variety of programs to assist businesses. Go to the COVID-19 Business Information page for more details. 

Low-income renters who are behind on their rent or utilities payments because of the pandemic may be eligible for financial assistance through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Go to the Forsyth County ERAP page for full details about eligibility and how to apply. 

Qualified homeowners may be eligible for assistance through the NC Homeowner Assistance Fund. The fund was established through the 2021 American Rescue Plan to prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, displacements and foreclosures for homeowners experiencing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic. Assistance of up to $40,000 is available for qualified homeowners as long as funding is available. Get more details at the NC Homeowner Assistance Fund. 

Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Background Information