Erie County CARES Act funding prepares to receive grant applications


Melissa J. Dixon

Erie, PA – Erie County was one of 60 counties in Pennsylvania eligible to apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant Program, and the County’s application was submitted June 16, 2020. The County received $24,358,828 on July 15, 2020.

Erie County CARES grant applications will open soon, and the process will be announced through traditional and social media, and on a forthcoming Erie County CARES page on the County’s website at The webpage will provide information about all of the programs created through the COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant, and an ArcGIS Hub, which will graphically present how the Erie County CARES dollars are being used in real time.

COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant Program funding may be used to support the following activities:

Direct County Response, Planning, Outreach Efforts (Erie County Direct Expenses) $4,953,029
Purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in response to the pandemic (Public Safety and Planning Department) $1,000,000
Administration of the grant by the County of no more than 2% of funds received or $200,000, whichever is less $200,000
Assistance to the county’s municipalities for response and planning efforts, including purchase of PPE (through Planning Department) $1,250,000
Small business and tourism grant programs with preference to businesses with fewer than 100 employees and those that did not receive funding through the Federal Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program established under the CARES Act (administered by Erie County Redevelopment Authority) $5,000,000

$2,575,799 (Erie Events)

Grant programs to support costs of assisting businesses during COVID-19 – CEDOs, LDDs, IRCs, SBDCs, and EDCs $60,000 (NW IRC)

$300,000 (Gannon SBDC)

$240,000 (Erie County Redevelopment Authority)

Behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment services (Erie County Department of Human Services training programs) $200,000
Broadband deployment with priority to unserved or underserved areas (administered by Department of Planning and Community Development) $1,080,000
Nonprofit assistance programs for 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(19) organizations (portions of this funding will be administered by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Public Safety) $6,500,000


“I am pleased that County Council has passed the ordinance to get this funding allocated to our community in its time of need,” County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper said. “COVID-19 has unfortunately devastated many organizations and businesses throughout Erie County. Once the grant applications are open, we expect to see prompt and appropriate distribution of the funding.”

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The $2 trillion economic relief package aims to protect the American people from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The CARES Act provides economic assistance for local governments and American workers, families, and small businesses.

Act 24 of 2020 was signed by Governor Wolf on May 29, 2020. This legislation provides $625 million of the state’s allocation of CARES Act funding by means of block grants for counties in the commonwealth through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

All payments made from the COVID-19 County Relief Block Grant, including those to sub-grantees, will be made through the County’s Department of Finance.


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