Pinellas CARES

COVID-19 financial relief for individuals, community & businesses

Thousands of individuals and local business owners have already received emergency financial relief through the Pinellas CARES program, but even more help is now available.

Individuals, Families & Workforce

For individuals, families & workforce: The application process has been simplified to make it easier to get help. Apply for financial assistance for rent, mortgage & utility bills overdue since March 1, 2020. Up to $5,000 per household is available for those who lost a job or significant income due to COVID-19. Learn more.

Qualifications:

  • Signed form attesting to lost job or income due to COVID-19 and that you have less than $10,000 in the bank.
  • Proof of U.S. and Pinellas County residency.
  • Proof of overdue bills.

Steps:

  1. Text the word COVIDCARES to the phone number 898211 – you will be asked a few screening questions via text to confirm you qualify. 
  2. Email required documents showing U.S. and Pinellas County residency, overdue bill and other info to help@211tampabay.org (full document details here).
  3. Sign electronic form attesting to your COVID-related financial need – the form will be emailed to you once all your documents are received.
  4. Payment will be made directly to the utility, landlord or mortgage company after your signed attestation form is submitted..

Important note: Due to the widespread impact of the pandemic on our local community, this program is experiencing a high volume of requests. Your payment will take several weeks to arrive from the time you submit your documents for review.

Please do not call to check on the status of your request as this will slow down the process of approving and distributing assistance.

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.

Expanded Local Business Grants

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners has approved additional funding to develop new business assistance programs.

Pinellas CARES is now offering expanded grant funding for Pinellas-based businesses most affected by the pandemic. In general, this includes businesses that were required to shut down or whose customers were required to shut down or stop doing business.

The program will assist businesses that have suffered economic damages from business interruption caused by COVID-19 since March 1, 2020, that were not covered by insurance or reimbursement from any federal program.

Businesses that make $3 million or less in gross annual revenue may qualify for up to $10,000 in grant assistance based on a sliding scale.

Learn more and apply online.

Nonprofit Organizations

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 ceckrem@elcpinellas.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.