Up to $136 million will support statewide programs addressing COVID-19 impacts

NEW CASTLE  – Up to $136 million from the New Castle County’s federal CARES Act allocation will support six state-wide programs targeting unemployment insurance, childcare, coronavirus testing and more, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced this week. 

This funding will supplement the $927 million of CARES Act funding the state received directly from the federal government. 

Mr. Meyer and the state developed a three-step approach for the funding agreement. 

They determined the total cost of all six statewide programs, then determined the percentage of the cost of those six statewide programs for the benefit of county residents and businesses, and finally, determined the cost share between the state and New Castle County. 

“We always work collaboratively with our federal, state and municipal governments but particularly in times of crisis,” Mr. Meyer said in a prepared statement. “My thanks to County Council, to the Governor’s office and to Delaware’s Office of Management and Budget to reach this agreement to help keep our community healthy and sustain our economy during this crisis.”   

Statewide programs that New Castle County CARES Act funding will support the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, the essential childcare program, statewide testing, statewide contact tracing, an enhanced rent and utility program and a hospitality emergency loan program.

Based on actual unemployment claims through mid-September and estimates through the rest of the year, the total statewide amount of COVID-19 unemployment claims paid for the forty-two-week period, March 15 to Dec. 30, will be $273 million. Approximately 55% of the statewide claims are from residents in New Castle County. A county contribution up to $67.5 million will be made.

The state childcare program provides supplemental benefits to centers during the pandemic. During the various stages of the governor’s State of Emergency, many facilities have had to, and continue to, either reduce capacity or close completely. In order to maintain an infrastructure of childcare facilities post-COVID-19 this grant/subsidy program was created. Total cost of the program state-wide is estimated to be $128 million, and the county will contribute up to $38 million.

The statewide testing program will continue to provide access to testing regardless of symptoms to all residents of Delaware. Statewide costs are expected to be approximately $80 million, with a county contribution up to $20.6 million. 

Contractual and technology expenses to run a statewide contact tracing program is expected to cost $12 million, with a county contribution up to $3.1 million. 

It is estimated that 70% of the recipients of the enhanced rent and utility program reside in New Castle County. The program provides emergency housing assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours or unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The Delaware Housing Assistance Program provides eligible households up to $1,500 in assistance, with payments made directly to the property owner or utility company. The county contribution will be up to $4.7 million.

Hospitality Emergency Loan Program was established to assist hospitality-related businesses in Delaware that have been economically impacted by COVID-19. No-interest loans of up to $10,000 per business per month to help the estimated 2,700 affected Delaware businesses in the hospitality industry cover immediate, unavoidable expenses. The statewide program is expected to cost $8.5 million with an estimated 48% of applicants are in New Castle County. The county will contribute up to $1.8 million.