COVID-19 financial relief for individuals, community & businesses
Thousands of individuals, families and businesses have received direct financial assistance through Pinellas CARES, and you may qualify for more help even if you’ve applied before.
Individuals & Families
Rent, mortgage and utility assistance up to $5,000 per household for overdue bills since March 1, 2020. To start the process, text the word COVIDCARES to 898211. Eligible applicants will be asked to send the following documents to email@example.com:
- Picture or scan of the unpaid bill
- Picture or scan of documents verifying U.S. and Pinellas County residency
After these documents are submitted, applicants will be sent a form to sign attesting that they lost their job or income due to COVID-19 and have no more than $10,000 in cash, checking or savings.
For detailed information on document requirements, visit: https://211tampabay.org/programs/covid-cares
Due to the widespread impact of the pandemic on our local community, this program is experiencing a high volume of requests. Payments will be made directly to the landlord, lender or utility company and may take several weeks to arrive from the time documents are submitted for review.
Applicants who did not previously qualify for the program or who already received help, but need assistance for additional overdue bills, can apply again with a maximum of $5,000 per household.
Learn more about how to apply.
Local Business Grants
Grants up to $10,000 for Pinellas-based businesses most affected by the pandemic: generally, those that were required to shut down or whose customers were required to shut down or stop doing business.
Businesses that have already applied for or received funding from previous local grant programs are still eligible for this program for a maximum award of $10,000, and businesses that apply for this program may also apply for current or future local grants.
Qualifying business owners can use a single online application to be considered for one of the following grants:
- Sliding Scale Grants: $2,500 to $10,000 grants for businesses making between $17,000 and $3 million in gross annual revenue.
- Health & Safety Matching Grants: up to $10,000 to assist Target Industry businesses in implementing COVID-19-related upgrades and safety precautions.
- Business Diversity and Arts Microgrants: help impacted business owners with barriers to participation in other grant programs strengthen their business through direct financial assistance and professional services, including help with post-COVID business planning, record-keeping and preparing documents needed to apply for other types of grant funding.
A detailed list of all program qualifications and a link to the online application can be found at: https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/pinellascaresbusiness.
Florida’s eviction moratorium has expired, but help is available through Pinellas CARES for those impacted by COVID-19 to cover overdue rent or mortgage payments and resolve eviction through legal mediation. If you are overdue on your rent, don’t wait until you get an eviction notice to seek help.
- Tenants – Free legal assistance is available to resolve evictions:
- Gulf Coast Legal Services Eviction Mitigation Project: (800) 230-5920
- Community Law Program (Pinellas Eviction Diversion Program): Call (727) 582-7475 (Landlords/Tenants)
- Bay Area Legal Services: (800) 625-2257
- Financial Assistance for Individuals: apply for up to $5,000 per household for overdue rent, mortgage or utilities through Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance
Facing eviction? Know your rights – Read Gulfcoast Legal Services’ Tenant Rights guide.
You can also learn more about possible protections under the CDC’s Temporary Halt in Evictions
Pinellas CARES is supporting new training programs for local workers who lost their job due to COVID-19 through a new CareerSource Pinellas program.
The new PinellasWorks programs provide on-the-job training opportunities, direct job placement, short-term occupational skills training certifications and other services. The program also offers qualifying businesses 100 percent reimbursement for costs of training new employees.
For more information, visit www.careersourcepinellas.com/pinellasworks.
For the community: Support for nonprofits that provide critical services & investments in countywide COVID-19 response.
Through a partnership between Pinellas County government and Pinellas Community Foundation, $29.7 million will be available to support nonprofit organizations to cover increased demand for supplies and programs resulting from the impacts of COVID-19.
- Program will focus on nonprofit agencies that provide community services in the areas of food, homelessness, behavioral health, and legal aid for housing.
- Grant approvals will be overseen by local committees including representatives from Pinellas County, PCF Board of Governors and other local partners.
- Application: www.pinellascf.org/CARES
Agencies needing application support can contact a member of the PCF team at 727-531-0058. Questions? See Frequently Asked Questions.
Child Care Providers
Through a partnership between Pinellas County and the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County (ELC), $4.6 million will be available to help child care organizations whose business was negatively impacted due to COVID-19. The Pinellas CARES Child Care Program will provide one-time grants of up to $10,000 to cover expenses such as employee wages, vendor bills, rent, and health and safety investments.
Applicants must be licensed, located in Pinellas County, and open and serving children at the time of application. ELC will contact all eligible providers directly via email with application instructions. Eligible providers that do not receive an email or need assistance applying can contact the ELC at 727-400-4436 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be accepted starting Friday, August 7, through October 2, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.
Questions? See Frequently Asked Questions.
Pinellas CARES Background
Pinellas County received $170 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to address the community’s most pressing needs related to COVID-19.
In addition to the above programs, Pinellas CARES also supports several other countywide initiatives, including: bolstering local pandemic response through increasing local capacity for testing, contact tracing, skilled nursing, personal protective equipment (PPE), community health educators, and other public health measures, workforce reemployment programs and support for nonprofit arts organizations.
The County developed the above programs based on broad public input, including an online community conversation and a survey that garnered 1,114 responses.