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Lee County approves $57.5 million in assistance for families and businesses

Millions of people have been out of work since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to many concerns about bills, particularly mortgages and rent. Residents have been wondering how they will be able to make ends meet.

“Think about it. You’ve been home. Maybe you’ve been successful with unemployment, maybe you haven’t, but you’re not meeting your usual expenses. And now you have to go back to work,” said Susan Block of the Early Learning Coalition.

As many businesses begin to reopen and some do get to return to work, Block wonders “where are their kids going to go?”

Thankfully, a little help with mortgages and child care expenses may be on the way.

Lee County on Tuesday approved $57.5 million in “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security” – or CARES Act federal stimulus package funds. Specifically, $3.5 million of that will go toward child care.

The county is partnering with local organizations such as the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club, and the United Way to provide scholarships and assistance programs to qualifying families.

“We will have a list of approved providers for the scholarship program and then people can contact those providers in order to see if there’s availability at a child care center and also to fill out the application for scholarship,” said Jeannine Joy of the United Way.

Applications may be available as early as next week.

As for mortgages and rent, $22 million have been approved for individuals impacted by the governor’s “Safer-At-Home” order. This is intended to help those who have been unemployed due to the pandemic continue paying their monthly rent and mortgage. There is a maximum of $2,000 per household. This money is expected to assist around 10,000 Lee County households.

County leaders also approved $25 million to help kickstart small businesses in the area through the Lee CARES Small Business Relaunch program.

“We’ve tried to streamline this process as much as possible so we can avoid taking months to disburse these payments,” says Assistant County Manager Glen Salyer.

While the money has been approved, the web portal is not yet up and running. Officials say it should be functioning by next Tuesday and they will begin taking applications.


LeeCARES Small Business Relaunch Grant

Overview

Lee County Government is investing $57.5 million in Human & Business Services to provide immediate assistance for individuals, families and businesses. Funds are available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act federal stimulus package.

Lee County has identified $25 million in emergency financial support that is available to qualified businesses through the Lee CARES Small Business Relaunch Program, which is intended to help offset the unintended costs of reopening or relaunching a small business as a result of being directly affected by Governor DeSantis’ Safer at Home Act.

The program’s highlights include:

  • $5,000 relaunch grants to qualifying small businesses and 501(c)(3) not-for-profits physically located within Lee County.
  • Expenses covered include inventory, re-opening sanitation and safety supplies, signage, insurance premiums, marketing, outdoor seating, etc.
  • Funds can only be used to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures that are not covered by insurance or another federal program.
  • A business is only eligible for one Relaunch grant per business.
  • Grants do not have to be repaid.

Eligibility:

  • 1 to 25 full-time employees, or equivalent part-time employees, including the owner as shown on IRS FORM 941.
  • Restaurants, bars and other non-essential businesses impacted by the state Safer at Home Act are eligible.
  • Business owners must be Lee County residents.
  • Ineligible businesses include larger businesses (those with more than 25 employees as of March 1, 2020) and home-based businesses.

LeeCARES PPE for Small Businesses

Overview

Lee County Government is investing $57.5 million in Human & Business Services to provide immediate assistance for individuals, families and businesses. Funds are available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act federal stimulus package.

Lee County has identified $3 million in emergency support that is available to qualified businesses through the Lee CARES PPE for Small Businesses Program, which is intended to help companies directly affected by Governor DeSantis’ Safer at Home Act re-open or as safely as possible and follow CDC guidelines

The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Small Businesses program supports companies in Lee County that employ one to 25 employees in specific industry segments that are heavily involved with public interaction. Only the following business segments are eligible to receive PPE supplies:

  • Medical and dental practices with less than 25 employees
  • Childcare services and youth camps
  • Museums and historical sites
  • Amusement and recreation centers
  • Independent restaurants with fewer than 25 employees
  • Barber shops, beauty salons, nail salons and personal care services

More details:

Each kit will contain a predetermined quantity of surgical masks, rubber gloves and hand sanitizer (while supplies last).

Applications will be accepted until supplies are exhausted.

Approved applicants will be emailed a confirmation receipt and directions for pick up.

Application instructions also are available in Spanish by calling 239-533-2273 (or 239-LEE-CARES); applicants without internet access can also call the number. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

LeeCARES Individual Assistance

Overview

Lee County Government is investing $57.5 million in Human & Business Services to provide immediate assistance for individuals, families and businesses. Funds are available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act federal stimulus package.

Lee County has identified $22 million in emergency support that is available to qualified individuals through the Lee CARES Individual Assistance Program, which is intended to help households impacted by Governor DeSantis’ Safer at Home Act.

The program’s highlights include:

  • Assistance with rent, mortgage or utilities (water and electric) may be provided if an individual has an unexpected loss of income due to impacts of COVID-19, including loss of job or reduced work hours.
  • Maximum assistance of $2,000 per household. Available funding is expected to help 10,000 or more Lee County households.
  • Payments will be made directly to landlord, mortgage company and/or utility company.
  • Assistance will be allocated to qualified applicants until relief funds are exhausted.

Eligibility

  • Total income for all household members, at the time of application, cannot exceed $55,000.
  • Applicant has an unexpected loss of income due to impacts of COVID-19, including loss of job or reduced work hours.
  • Applicant must be a Lee County resident

For more information go to LeeFLcares.com

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Drew Hill
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