Local stimulus checks fill in the gaps as Congress drags its feet on another COVID-19 package

By Arianne Cohen

Orange County, Florida, has taken matters into its own hands: The county is handing out $1,000 stimulus checks to residents.

Monday marks the third time that the the county’s Individual and Family Assistance Program website is accepting applications, aimed at helping struggling locals pay for rent, mortgage, medical or utility expenses. Last week, the website reportedly accepted 5,000 applications before crashing, and today will accept 25,000 more. The funding will cover one-time payments to 36,500 of its 1.1 million residents.

The local stimulus check program comes as Congress is dragging its heels on a second stimulus package, with GOP leaders saying that the next round of COVID-19 relief will not be passed until the end of June at the earliest, if at all.

Jacksonville, Florida, and Howard County, Maryland, have also offered smaller local stimulus programs.

In Orange County’s case, officials have earmarked $36.5 million to fund the program, which is a portion of the $243 million that Orange County received in coronavirus relief funds from the CARES Act, reports The Orlando Sentinel. The county is also offering $10,000 checks to small businesses in a separate program.

“The goal for me was to create some immediate relief to individuals and small businesses that have needs that have not yet been met through any of the federal and state resources,” Jerry Demings, mayor of Orange County, told local media. Demings said the plan is to put 60% of the county’s CARES funds back into the community.


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