DENVER, CO — The City and County of Denver has announced the allotment of $20 million in federal coronavirus relief funding. The funds will support residents with housing and food assistance, provide economic relief for local small businesses and non-profits, expand widespread community testing, and help other public health programs and needs, city officials said.

The funds are part of the city’s first phase distribution of the $126.8 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act — CARES Act — which aims to support communities amid the pandemic.

“Our residents need more relief, and these are programs we can deploy funding to right now to support people’s and family’s housing, food and job security, as well as our community’s public health, during this pandemic,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement.

The $20 million will go to:

  • Housing Relief: $6.5 million to support rent and utility assistance ($4M) and mortgage assistance ($1M) programs and rehousing strategies ($1.5M) for those impacted by COVID-19.
  • Food Assistance: $2 million to support food assistance programs, as well as city agencies conducting feeding programs for vulnerable populations, including Denver Public Schools. These funds will also be used for sanitization and retrofitting of food pantries across the city.
  • Non-profit and Business Relief: $6.5 million to support grants to non-profits ($2.2M) and small businesses ($4.3M). This is in addition to existing grants and relief funds provided by Denver’s Office of Economic Development & Opportunity.
  • Public Health and Safety Need: $5 million to support continued public health programs and safety needs, including widespread community testing, sanitizing equipment for businesses, non-profits, and nursing homes and personal protective equipment.

The city is working with the recovery council and city council to identify the priorities for the remaining CARES Act funding. The city also plans to set aside a portion of the funds as contingency dollars to cushion the city from potential impacts from the pandemic.

Denver Economic Development and Opportunity will be awarding another $750,000 to $1 million in grants for small businesses, the city announced Tuesday. The organization is working with Mile High United Way to provide grants through the Small Businesses Emergency Relief Fund, which was launched in March.