In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Tucson received about $95 million from the federal CARES Act. Mayor Regina Romero and the city council members recently approved $3 million of that funding to be distributed to local workers and families that have been negatively impacted by the crisis.
The grant program, named the “We Are One | Somos Unos Resiliency Fund” will focus on individuals and households that have not received any state or federal COVID-19 relief money and whose income does not reach Pima County’s self-sufficiency standard.
The self-sufficiency standard measures how much money an individual or family needs to earn to be able to meet their basic needs with no public or private financial assistance. In 2018, the self-sufficiency standard for a single adult in Pima County was $9.66 per hour or $1,700 per month. For a household with two adults and two young children, the standard was $13.22 per hour for both adults, or $4,711 per month.
On July 24, the expanded federal unemployment benefits that were provided in response to COVID-19 expired, leaving many households across the country vulnerable to financial instability.
The City of Tucson is partnering with the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, who will administer the grants and begin accepting applications at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19 until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
“The pandemic has affected Tucsonans in many different ways, and while a large number of people have been able to receive federal aid—such as stimulus checks—others are struggling to meet basic needs because they do not qualify for current aid programs,” said Mayor Regina Romero in a press release. “Offering the workers and families grant is another way Mayor and Council are supporting those who have fallen through the cracks and are most vulnerable.”
The Resiliency Fund will provide one-time payments of up to $700 per individual and $1,200 per family for those who live within the boundaries of the City Tucson or South Tucson.
The grants are intended to provide short-term emergency aid to prevent evictions, assist with mortgage payments, subsidize utility payments, supplement groceries, gasoline, childcare costs and other everyday needs.
“The impact of COVID-19 on individuals and families—particularly folks who are often left in the margins—cannot be understated,” said Women’s Foundation CEO Amalia Luxardo. “We want to help ensure every member of our community is seen and supported during these incredibly challenging times.”