COVID-19 Resources

The Texas Association of Regional Councils has been compiling and sharing information and resources related to COVID-19 with its members. This information is archived below in chronological order. Because of the ever-changing nature of the response to the pandemic, older information and guidance may have changed since its original distribution.

Please e-mail tarc with any resource questions or site updates.

April 26, 2022

Fiscal Recovery Fund Project and Expenditure Reports Due By THIS SATURDAY, April 30

ALL Counties must submit a Project and Expenditure Report on the use of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds are due to Treasury by April 30.

  • Treasury has created a step-by-step video outlining how to complete your reporting.
    • For counties that have a population of more than 250,000 or that received more than $10 million in fiscal recovery funds, this will be the second quarterly report, covering the period from Jan. 1, 2022 to March 31, 2022.
    • For all other counties, this will be the first annual report, covering the period from March 3, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
  • For more information, see Compliance and Reporting Guidance from Treasury.
  • Non-entitlement units of local government (NEUs)
    • Treasury held an NEU-specific training on reporting compliance. Click the links below for more information.

January 14, 2022

Treasury Releases Final Rule

On January 6, 2022, the U.S. Treasury Department (Treasury) released the Final Rule for the State and Local Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund (Recovery Fund), which was authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act. The Final Rule will go into effect on April 1, 2022. However, the Final Rule’s new flexibilities and simplifications can be used now, even ahead of the effective date. The National Association of Counties and National League of cities have great resource pages and upcoming information sessions on the final rule for those interested.

Upcoming CSLFR Reporting Deadline

Some cities and counties are required to submit the first quarterly report on January 31, 2022, this initial report will cover three calendar quarters from March 3, 2021, to December 31, 2022. For more information on reporting requirements and deadlines for the Fiscal Recovery Fund, please review Treasury’s Compliance and Reporting Guidance. The compliance and reporting guidance also provides important information on how to track Fiscal Recovery Fund expenditures and how counties can ensure subrecipients are in compliance with these requirements. Another resource is the Treasury Recipient Compliance and Reporting Responsibilities Page that includes webinars for cities and counties and different population and award thresholds.

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

Earlier this week the Supreme Court blocked the OSHA vaccine-or-testing rule for large employers. See the ruling here. We will have an overview of this ruling and its impact in Texas at the February TARC meeting.

Example American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) Administration Fee Scale

A request was made on the Executive Directors’ Council monthly virtual meeting for examples of how one region, Panhandle Regional Planning Commission, sets their administration fees in tiers. To receive this information please contact glewisford

TAMU/DSHS Vaccine Outreach Grant

The purpose of the second round of the Texas Vaccine Outreach and Education Grant Program is to fund projects that ensure greater access and knowledge of COVID-19 vaccines through education and outreach to populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Grantees will be awarded funds to engage their community in proactive COVID-19 vaccine education and outreach activities with the goal of increasing the number of people fully vaccinated for COVID-19 in Texas. Priority will be given to applicants focusing on one or more of ten counties in Texas with low vaccination rates (Bell, Bowie, Ector, Grayson, Jefferson, Johnson, McLennan, Parker, Tom Green, and/or Wichita).

August 26, 2021

Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-39 “Maintaining Prohibition of Vaccine Mandates in Texas”.Click here for full-text of order and press release.

State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Program Interim Reports Due August 31-Not Applicable to Non-Entitlement Units of Local Government (NEUs)

Cities and counties that received direct payments from Treasury for the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Program must submit the Interim Report by Tuesday, August 31. Information about reporting requirements and guidance can be found below.

Per TDEM, Each NEU participating in the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (CLFRF) program must submit annual Project and Expenditure reports directly to the Treasury Department. The initial annual Project and Expenditure report will cover activity from the date of award to September 30, 2021 and must be submitted to Treasury by October 31, 2021. The subsequent annual reports must be submitted to Treasury by October 31 each year.

  • TDEM has posted a FAQ document to its CLFRF page which is available here.
  • The TDEM website for NEUs can be found here.

The table below outlines the reporting requirements by recipient type:

 

Direct Recipient Reporting Information and Resources

Treasury is now accepting the Interim Report and the Recovery Plan Performance Report which are due by August 31, 2021, through Treasury’s Portal. Recipients should refer to the User Guide: Treasury’s Portal for Recipient Reporting which includes step-by-step guidance for submitting the required SLFRF reports using Treasury’s Portal.

  • The Compliance and Reporting Guidance for the SLFRF Program. The guidance provides additional detail and clarification for each recipient’s compliance and reporting responsibilities, and should be read in concert with the Award Terms and Conditions, the authorizing statute, the Interim Final Rule (IFR), and other regulatory and statutory requirements.
  • A forthcoming User Guide will provide information on submitting Project and Expenditure Reports.

For States, territories, and metropolitan cities and counties with greater than 250,000 residents

  • Recovery Plan Template- Required to be published annually on the recipient’s website and provided to Treasury. The Recovery Plan Performance Report will contain detailed project performance data, including information on efforts to improve equity and engage communities.   This is a recommended template but recipients may modify this template as appropriate for their jurisdiction as long as it includes the required reporting elements.

Webinars

Treasury facilitated a series of webinars to provide an overview of the CLFRF Compliance and Reporting Guidance issued on June 17, 2021.  Recipients have different reporting requirements based on population and amount of funding received, so recipients are encouraged review the appropriate materials for your recipient group.

Please note that these materials provide an overview of the guidance and should not be used as a substitute for reviewing the guidance in full, as well as the Award Terms and Conditions, the authorizing statute, the Interim Final Rule, and other regulatory and statutory requirements.

States, Territories and Cities/Counties with population greater or equal to 250,000

Counties/Cities with population less than 250,000 and awards over $5M

Counties/Cities with population less than 250,000 and awards under $5M

Tribal Governments

Interim Report and Recovery Plan

Recorded Presentation on Submitting Interim Reports and Recovery Plans using Treasury’s Portal

Additional Technical Assistance Webinars

As listed below, Treasury has hosted a series of technical assistance webinars to assist recipients with the SLFRF program.

Evidence and Evaluation

On August 11, 2021 Treasury hosted a technical assistance webinar on evidence and evaluation, including topics such as how to define evidence, how to identify evidence-based interventions, how to effectively implement such interventions, how to use evaluations to generate new evidence, and resources that are available to assist jurisdictions in performing evaluations.

Promoting a More Equitable Economic Recovery

On August 18, 2021, Treasury hosted a technical assistance webinar on equity in the State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds. The webinar addressed topics such as defining equity, assessing disparate impacts in communities, and considering ways to address equity gaps. Featured speakers shared success stories and information on how jurisdictions can support a more equitable economic recovery.

For More Information

For general questions about this program, please e-mail SLFRP.

Subscribe to receive updates about Treasury’s COVID-19 Economic Relief Programs

Key Links

July 9, 2021

Last week, TDEM contacted the local governments that are eligible for funding as non-entitlement units (NEUs) to let them know that the state will soon announce the availability of American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CLFRF). Below and attached is the information shared which may be helpful to you should your jurisdictions reach out to you with questions or need assistance. We appreciate Panhandle Regional Planning Commission assisting TARC with tracking down some of this information.

Please note the information below is intended as a summary, please consult guidance before making any final decisions for uses of funding and to ensure compliance with state and federal requirements.

  • TDEM has created a webpage with information about how to access the funds which is available at: https://tdem.texas.gov/clfrf/.
  • TDEM will conduct Coronavirus Local Fiscal Relief Fund (CLFRF) training and orientation sessions every business day through the month of July at 1:00 PM.

American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Overview (CLFRF)

  • The CLFRF program is a component of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and provides funding to local governments to broadly respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. As established by U.S. Treasury Department guidance, the state, through TDEM, will distribute two tranches of payments to eligible non-entitlement units of local government (NEUs), which are local governments typically serving populations of under 50,000. The total funding amounts were determined by formula as directed by federal law and Treasury guidance. The state did not have discretion in determining these funding amounts, the eligibility of the NEUs, or how these funds must be spent.
  • The state will formally apply for funding on August 2, or when 90 percent of the NEU required information is received.

 *Immediate Action Needed*

  • Complete the required steps included within the following timeline by August 2, 2021:
  • The American Rescue Plan Act includes a short timeframe for the distribution of funding to participating NEUs. All NEUs should begin preparing the information necessary to upload their submission packages as soon as possible when the application portal is opened. NEUs that have not uploaded a complete submission package or are nonresponsive may lose access to these funds.

 Payment Timelines

  • As required by Treasury, the state, through TDEM, will distribute the first tranche of funding to NEUs after reviewing and approving the required program documentation provided above by each NEU.  Per Treasury requirements, the state, through TDEM, will distribute the second tranche approximately one year later.

 Participant Responsibilities

  • NEUs participating in the program will have direct obligations to the Treasury Department, including reporting and recordkeeping requirements. All costs are subject to audit by the Treasury Office of Inspector General and Government Accountability Office and improperly used funds will be subject to recoupment by Treasury.

 Cost Eligibility

  • NEUs may use these funds for eligible purposes, please consult Treasury and TDEM websites for information:
    1. To respond to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality;
    2. To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers of the State, territory, or tribal government that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work;
    3. For the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction of revenue of such State, territory, or Tribal government due to the COVID-19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the State, territory, or tribal government prior to the emergency; or
    4. To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
  • Additional allowable uses can be found in this FAQ document located at https://tdem.texas.gov/clfrf/. The Treasury Department will also update their draft rule which determines eligible uses. Please periodically check the TDEM website for updates.

 Cost Period of Eligibility

  • CLFRF funds may be used to cover costs incurred from March 3, 2021, through December 31, 2026. However, participants must obligate all funding by December 31, 2024.  Obligate means an order placed for property and services and entering into contracts, subawards, and similar transactions that require payment.

 Resources

If you have any questions please reach out to TARC and/or please email TDEM directly at crf.

June 18, 2021

U.S. Department of the Treasury

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Frequently Asked Questions as of June 17, 2021 (Updates to eligible broadband investments)

Yesterday, the U.S. Treasury Department released updated guidance on the broadband provision of the Fiscal Recovery Fund’s Interim Final Rule (IFR). The FAQ update provides answers to questions from stakeholders on eligible broadband infrastructure investments. The update clarifies that states and localities may invest in areas where not all households or businesses are unserved or underserved, as long as an objective of the project is to provide service to unserved or underserved households or businesses. Further, it clarifies that the use of “reliably” in the broadband provision of the IFR provides states and localities with significant discretion to assess the actual experience of users on the ground.

    • The FAQs regarding water, sewer and broadband infrastructure begin on page 16 of the document linked here and above.

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Frequently Asked Questions on Distribution of Funds to Non-entitlement Units of Local Government as of June 7, 2021.

The document linked here and above contains answers to frequently asked questions regarding the distribution of funds to non-entitlement units of local government (NEUs) under the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSFRF / CLFRF, or Fiscal Recovery Funds). This document serves as a supplement to the main document of frequently asked questions (available here), which is also available on the Department of the Treasury (Treasury)’s website. Treasury will be updating this document periodically in response to questions received from stakeholders. Recipients and stakeholders should consult the Interim Final Rule (IFR) for additional information.

Funding for non-entitlement units of local governments (For more information, visit treasury.gov.)

The Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund will provide $19.53 billion to support tens of thousands of non-entitlement units of local government, which are local governments typically serving a population under 50,000.

Non-entitlement units of local government (NEUs), defined in section 603(g)(5) of the Social Security Act, as added by section 9901 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, are local governments typically serving populations of less than 50,000. NEUs include cities, villages, towns, townships, or other types of local governments. NEUs should expect to receive Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund payments through their state governments. State governments will receive a specific allocation of these funds from Treasury for this purpose and are responsible for distributing these funds to NEUs within their state. Award amounts are based on the population of the NEU.

    • Non-Entitlement Local Government defined in section 603(g)(5) of the Social Security Act  as:
      • NONENTITLEMENT UNIT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT.—The term ‘‘nonentitlement unit of local government’’ means a ‘‘city’’, as that term is defined in section 102(a)(5) of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5302(a)(5))), that is not a metropolitan city.
        • Definition from 42 USC 5302(a)(5):
          • The term “city” means (A) any unit of general local governmentwhich is classified as a municipality by the United States Bureau of the Census or (B) any other unit of general local government which is a town or township and which, in the determination of the Secretary, (i) possesses powers and performs functions comparable to these associated with municipalities, (ii) is closely settled, and (iii) contains within its boundaries no incorporated places as defined by the United States Bureau of the Census which have not entered into cooperation agreements with such town or township to undertake or to assist in the undertaking of essential community development and housing assistance activities.

National Association of Counties

NaCO Interactive Tool

The National Association of Counties has created an interactive tool (linked above)to assist with understanding the funding available through the American Rescue Plan Action of 2021 (H.R. 1319) The tool is designed to help navigate the roughly $1.5 trillion in county related funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Programs that may provide counties with additional funding are denoted as “county eligible.” As federal guidance for the various new and existing programs are released, this information will be updated.

NACo Q&A

NACo staff are answering questions on the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund through the NACo COVID-19 Recovery Clearinghouse. See the most frequently asked questions below, and click here to ask your question.

    • What is the deadline to submit comments on Treasury's Interim Final Rule?
    • May recipients use funds to cover the costs of consultants to assist with managing and administering the funds?
      • Recipients may use funds for administering the Fiscal Recovery Fund program, including costs of consultants to support effective management and oversight, including consultation for ensuring compliance with legal, regulatory and other requirements.
    • Is revenue loss calculated in the aggregate or on a source-by-source basis?
      • In calculating revenue loss, recipients will look at general revenue in the aggregate, rather than on a source-by-source basis. Given that recipients may have experienced offsetting changes in revenues across sources, Treasury’s approach provides a more accurate representation of the effect of the pandemic on overall revenues.
    • For broadband infrastructure investments, what does the requirement that infrastructure “be designed to” provide service to unserved or underserved households and businesses mean?
      • Designing infrastructure investments means to prioritize unserved or underserved households or businesses (speeds below 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload). To meet this requirement, counties can use funds to deploy broadband infrastructure projects whose objective is to provide service to unserved or underserved households or businesses.
    • For broadband infrastructure to provide service to “unserved or underserved households or businesses,” must every house or business in the service area be unserved or underserved?
      • It suffices that an objective of the project is to provide service to unserved or underserved households or businesses. Doing so may involve a holistic approach that provides service to a wider area in order to make the ongoing service of unserved or underserved households or businesses within the service area economical. Unserved or underserved households or businesses need not be the only households or businesses in the service area receiving funds.

National League of Cities

The National League of Cities has compiled several resources to assist with understanding about Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund grants.

May 19, 2021

Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Prohibiting Government Entities from Mandating Masks

In the event you are not aware, the Governor issued Executive Order GA-36 yesterday. The order prohibits governmental entities in Texas — including counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities, or government officials — from requiring or mandating mask wearing.  Beginning Friday, May 21, local governments or officials that attempt to impose a mask mandate or impose a limitation inconsistent or conflicting with the Executive Order can be subject to a fine of up to $1,000.  The only exceptions are state-supported living centers, government-owned or operated hospitals, Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities, Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities, and county and municipal jails.

May 11, 2021

Governor Abbott, TDEM, and TMD Launch State Vaccine Call Center To Connect Organizations, Businesses With Mobile Vaccine Teams

Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), and the Texas Military Department (TMD) today announced the launch of the State Mobile Vaccination Team Call Center. Beginning tomorrow at 8:00 AM CT, Texas businesses or civic organizations can call 844-90-TEXAS and select Option 3 to schedule a visit from a state mobile vaccine team to vaccinate employees, visitors, or members.

  • To qualify for a visit, a business or civic organization must have 10 or more employees, visitors, or members who voluntarily choose to be vaccinated.
  • Homebound Texans are also encouraged to call the hotline and select Option 1 to request a state mobile vaccination team to visit their home.

Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Update

The U.S. Department of the Treasury released initial guidance on the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund yesterday. Treasury has created a comprehensive website which can be found here. TARC is encouraging jurisdictions to turn to their regional councils for assistance and implementation ideas.

Included on the site are the following quick links that may be of interest to you or your member communities.

Treasury will distribute funds to eligible state, territorial, metropolitan city, county, and Tribal governments. Funds must be requested through the Treasury Submission Portal.

Note: Eligible local governments that are classified as non-entitlement units should expect to receive this funding through their applicable state government. Non-entitlement units are generally local governments with populations of less than 50,000. Funding amounts for non-entitlement units are presently available only in aggregate at the state level. Treasury expects to provide further guidance on distributions to non-entitlement units in the coming days.

Additional information from state and national organizations can be found by clicking the links below and we are in contact with state and national associations for any updates.

As more guidance is released and reviewed, TARC will be sure to share information that is of interest to regional councils and their member governments. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let TARC know. While we may not have the answer, we are always happy to track down information available.

FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Enrollment Begins Tomorrow-5/12

The program provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households. For more information click here.

 

April 19, 2021

US Department of Treasury Announcement

Texas Association of Counties (TAC)

  • View TAC’s new webpage to help answer your questions about the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11. TARC listened in on webinars Friday and continues to work with TAC to assist.

National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) + National Association of Regional Councils (NARC)

  • The American Rescue Plan Act (P.L. 117-2) was signed into law on March 11, 2021. In the time since, relevant federal agencies have been working on guidance that will determine exactly how American Rescue Plan funds can be spent.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) received a historic funding level of $3 billion in supplemental relief funding via the American Rescue Plan Act. For context, this is twice the amount EDA received via the CARES Act ($1.5 billion) and nearly ten times EDA’s typical annual appropriation. EDA has not yet published guidance dictating how these funds can be used. In addition, NADO sent this NADO letter to Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo emphasizing recommendations for distributing the American Rescue Plan funds, and highlighting the need for additional funds for EDDs and NADO members.
  • Below are the NADO and NARC slide decks containing some additional information and resources.

National Association of Counties (NACO)

National League of Cities (NLC)

 

January 3, 2021

State Preservation Board Reopens Capitol

Governor Abbott, DSHS Encourage Nursing Facilities To Take Advantage Of COVID-19 Treatments

Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) are alerting nursing facilities to the availability of monoclonal antibody therapies that can be used to treat residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

"These live-saving monoclonal antibody therapies play a critical role in our fight against COVID-19, and I urge nursing facilities across the state to take advantage of these treatments," said Governor Abbott. "Thanks to our partnership with the federal government, these therapeutics are readily available for nursing facilities and other health care settings to help us treat COVID-19 patients and reduce hospitalizations."

Department of State Health Services

  • Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Information
  • Vaccine Finder
  • *Weekly COVID-19 Briefing Call Reminder*
    • The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) continues to hold its weekly briefing on COVID-19 activities in the State of Texas at 4:00 pm CDT every Tuesday. This call provides updates for local and elected officials, emergency management, public health and medical partners, and schools and higher education. The call information is available below. Please delete or update any previous calendar invitations.
      • DSHS Weekly COVID Update Call
        • Tuesdays at 4:00 pm CDT
        • Dial-In: 800-289-0462
        • Passcode: 818884

Texas Health and Human Services Vaccine Scam Information

Texas Health and Human Services shared the COVID-19 Vaccine Fraud Public Service Announcement (PSA) and COVID-19 Vaccine Scam Bulletin, issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Department of Justice (DOJ) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), warning the public about several emerging fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines.

Texas Division of Emergency Management COVID Testing Site Map

COVID-19 testing continues across Texas with more than 2,600 testing sites open. To find a site locally, visit the state’s interactive testing site location map using the link below.

October 8, 2020

Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order to Open Bars in Qualifying Counties in Texas

Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order to open bars and similar establishments at up to 50% capacity in conjunction with county officials on October 7, 2020.

*Texas Division of Emergency Management*

This week the Texas Division of Emergency Mangagement (TDEM) began sending letters to jurisdictions concerning deadlines related to the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund. Please read the letter and be sure to check if any jurisdictions in your region have not accessed available funding. Below please read the text of the letter and find the jurisidictions eligible for CRF through TDEM (not including the 18 directly receiving funds directly from U.S. Treasury) along with a CRF Funding Status as of 10/5/20 provided to TARC by TDEM. Please note October 16th, November 13th and December 15th are important deadlines listed in the letter.

FEMA COVID-19 Resource Roadmaps

In collaboration with other federal departments and agencies, FEMA has recently released some resource roadmaps to provide help navigating some of the challenges and resources available to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The resource roadmaps are based on anticipated COVID-19 recovery challenges in key topic areas. Roadmaps that may be of interest are linked below.

 Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published additional frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) regarding the need to report employees’ in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities resulting from work-related cases of the coronavirus.

September 8, 2020

Office of the Governor

Yesterday Governor Greg Abbott extended the statewide disaster declaration (all counties) for COVID-19. The declaration was originally issued March 13th. To read the press release and proclamation click here.

Texas Department of State Health Services Weekly Call Reminder

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has updated the passcode for the weekly briefing on COVID-19 activities in the State of Texas. The call will still be held at 4:00 pm CDT every Tuesday. This call provides updates for local and elected officials, emergency management, public health and medical partners, and schools and higher education. The call information is available below. Please delete or update any previous calendar invitations.

  • DSHS Weekly COVID Update Call
    • Tuesdays at 4:00 pm CDT
    • Dial-In: 800-289-0462
    • Passcode: 818884

 Department of Labor Update

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for workers and employers about qualifying for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The new FAQs explain eligibility for paid leave relative to the varied formats and schedules schools have announced as they plan to reopen, including blending in-person with distance learning. WHD is providing this information to explain the benefits and protections available under both the paid sick leave and the expanded family and medical leave provisions of FFCRA.

In addition, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) released guidance that provides states with information regarding the eligibility of individuals who are caregivers for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) under the CARES Act.

DOL encourages you to forward this information to appropriate stakeholders, county governments and municipal governments in your state. For information on DOL actions in response to COVID-19, visit www.dol.gov/coronavirus.

TARC has an attorney who specializes in employment law scheduled for the TARC Finance & Personnel Staff Association next week. More information coming soon!

August 11, 2020

As of 9:00 am today, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is currently reporting a total of 486,362 cases of COVID-19 in the State of Texas which includes an estimated 133,058 active cases, 344,845 individuals have recovered from the virus and 8,459 confirmed COVID-19 related fatalities. Across Texas, a total of 4,025,864 COVID-19 molecular tests have been completed.

Texas Department of State Health Services Weekly Call Update

**Please note the Passcode has changed.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has updated the passcode for the weekly briefing on COVID-19 activities in the State of Texas. The call will still be held at 4:00 pm CDT every Tuesday. This call provides updates for local and elected officials, emergency management, public health and medical partners, and schools and higher education. The call information is available below. Please delete or update any previous calendar invitations.

  • DSHS Weekly COVID Update Call
    • Tuesdays at 4:00 pm CDT
    • Dial-In: 800-289-0462
    • Passcode: 818884

 Governor Abbott Extends State Disaster Declaration For COVID-19

Governor Greg Abbott extended his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. Originally issued on March 13th, the Disaster Declaration provides the state a variety of resources to effectively serve Texans as the Lone Star State continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Attorney General Opinion

The following opinion has been issued by Attorney General Ken Paxton.

  • Emergency powers granted by Government Code chapter do not authorize local governmental entities operating under a declared disaster to independently rewrite state law such as Property Code chapter 24 governing evictions.

August 4, 2020

Operational Updates

Governor Abbott Updates

  • Governor Abbott Announces White House Title 32 Extension Of Texas National Guard COVID-19 Mission
    • Governor Greg Abbott today announced that President Trump has extended federal funding for the Texas National Guard's mission to help combat COVID-19 in communities across the state. This extension of the Texas National Guard will be fully funded by the federal government through the end of 2020. Governor Abbott issued the following statement: "The Texas National Guard plays a vital role in our response and recovery efforts, and I thank President Trump for extending this federal funding,” said Governor Abbott. "The Lone Star State remains vigilant in our efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 and we will continue to work alongside our federal partners to keep Texans safe."
    • Click here to read the full press release.

Attorney General Opinions

  • A request for opinion regarding County authority to require facial coverings in courtrooms, courthouses, and county buildings was submitted to Attorney General Ken Paxton. The opinion from Paxton states, “County authority to require facial coverings in courtrooms, courthouses, and county buildings can be found in in the Texas statutes, and in emergency and executive orders.”
    • The Request for Opinion can be found here:  RQ-0356-KP
    • The Attorney General’s Opinion can be found here: KP-0322
  • A request for opinion regarding authority of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County to prohibit service and access to its transit authority system to a person who refuses to comply with a rule requiring facial coverings was submitted to Attorney General Ken Paxton. The opinion from Paxton states, “If wearing a facial covering in a transit authority vehicle or facility is necessary for the safe and efficient operation of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Authority may require any person medically capable of doing so to wear a facial covering when entering its vehicles or facilities.”
    • The Request for Opinion can be found here: KP-0323
    • The Attorney General’s Opinion can be found here:  RQ-0360-KP

July 27, 2020

Operational Updates & Resources

 Governor Abbott Updates

  • Governor Abbott, TMD Announce Texas National Guard Partnership With Active Duty, Reservists In Support Of COVID-19 Response
    • Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Military Department (TMD) announced Joint Task Force Texas, a newly formed partnership between the Texas National Guard and Active Duty and Reservists to strengthen COVID-19 response efforts in Texas. More than 1,200 service members have come together from the Texas National Guard and the active and reserve components of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force to support hospitals in Houston, San Antonio, Del Rio, and the Rio Grande Valley.
    • To read the full press release, click here.

 

  • Office Of The Governor, Dr. Francisco Cigarroa Release Spanish Language COVID-19 PSA
    • The Office Of The Governor and Francisco Cigarroa, MD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio released a new Spanish-language public service announcement (PSA) urging Texans to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19. In the PSA, Dr. Cigarroa encourages Texans to follow simple steps to protect themselves and others: wearing a mask, regular hand washing, staying home when possible, and socially distancing from others.
    • The new PSA is available on YouTube and can be downloaded at this link.

Health & Human Services Commission

  • Beginning Monday, July 27, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will electronically post to its website COVID-19 case counts and deaths by facility name for state supported living centers, state hospitals, and state-licensed nursing and assisted living facilities.
  • Data on COVID-19 case counts and deaths will be updated on the HHSC website daily on weekdays, no later than 3 p.m. CT.
  • The daily case count postings can be found here.

Reminder: DSHS COVID-19 Update Call | Tuesdays at 4:00 pm

  • The Texas Department of State Health Services continues to host the weekly statewide COVID-19 update call for elected officials, public health and medical partners, emergency management, schools and higher education officials. The calls take place every Tuesday at 4 pm. The call information is below.
  • Call information:
    • 800-289-0462
    • Passcode:805539

Attorney General Update

  • SCAM ALERT: AG Paxton and DOJ Partner to Warn Consumers of Fraudsters Selling Counterfeit, Mislabeled, Non-Existent PPE
  • Attorney General Ken Paxton, in partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern Districts of Texas, today informed the public about several fraudulent schemes involving masks, personal protection equipment (PPE), and other COVID-19 related equipment. They urge everyone to exercise increased due diligence and caution when dealing with new suppliers or vendors, especially when using a third-party broker.
  • As demand for PPE increases, scammers may advertise equipment they do not actually have in attempts to make a quick profit. These PPE products may be counterfeit and mislabeled, and some may not exist at all. Some fraudsters reach out directly to consumers and government entities through email or social media to push their products. Red flags that a seller may be engaging in a scam include:
    • Unusual payment terms
    • Last-minute price changes
    • Last-minute excuses for delay in shipment
    • Unexplained source of a large quantity of material
    • Evidence of re-packaging or mislabeling
  • There are ongoing federal and state prohibitions on charging exorbitant prices for PPE during this time of national emergency. Texans who believe they have encountered scams or price gouging should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint online. For additional information on disaster scams, please visit our disaster scams website.
  • More information on unapproved or counterfeit PPE can be found at cdc.gov/niosh. You can also find information on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website and the Environmental Protection Agency website. If you have information about PPE-related fraud, or about hoarding or price gouging of critical supplies, you can report it without leaving your home to the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling the National Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or by submitting the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

EDA Fraud Alert

  • EDA is aware of recent incidents of fraudulent emails, letters, or other communications sent to individuals offering to provide EDA grants in exchange for money or personal information. The scammers behind these fraudulent communications often pose as EDA employees or agents in an attempt to extract payment. Please note that EDA does not provide grants to individuals and does not ask individuals to disclose personal information. In addition, EDA does not require applicants to submit a processing or other fee. EDA grants can only be obtained by following the procedures described in the Notices of Funding Opportunities provided for the programs listed on our Funding Opportunities page.
  • If you believe you have been the victim of one of these scams or are aware of such incidents with your members, please contact the Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General and submit a report. You may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1 or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.

CDC Guidance Documents

  • CDC’s COVID-19 Guidance documents can be filtered by audience and include topics such as symptoms, testing guidelines, and management of COVID-19 in many community settings.
  • Click here to view the guidance documents.

COVID-19 Data Hubs for Data-Driven Decision Making

The following data hubs provide information about COVID-19 cases and trends, current and long-term economic and housing impacts, and other data  that can help inform State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial recovery planning and decisions that will have to be made to address the long-term impacts of the pandemic.

  • CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker: Maps, charts, and data that tracks COVID-19 cases, trends, demographics, social impacts, school closures, and more. Link
  • US Census Bureau COVID-19 Hub: New timely economic, household, and resilience data to inform COVID-19 recovery and ready access to other key Census data products. Link
  • FEMA National Integration Center+ COVID-19 Geospatial Resource Center: The Resilience Analysis and Planning Tool (RAPT) is a GIS planning tool to inform strategies for emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. FEMA created a Geospatial Resource Center to facilitate data sharing, collaboration, and situational awareness for all Federal, State, Local, Tribal, Private Sector, and NGO partners responding to COVID-19.
  • Health and Human Services GeoHEALTH: The Dept. of Health and Human Services, secure GIS-based, electronic, interactive mapping application with data on COVID-19 cases, testing, and hospital capacity. Link
  • HUD e-GIS Open Data Storefront: The HUD-eGIS Storefront provides a one-stop shop where users can search for and discover HUD's geospatial datasets, web-based mapping tools, and application programming interfaces (APIs). Link
  • John Hopkins: A resource to help advance understanding of the virus, inform the public, and brief policymakers in order to guide response, improve care, and save lives. Link
  • Opportunity Insights: Real time tracking of the economic impacts of COVID-19 on people, businesses, and communities across the United States. Link Access Source Data Link
  • Policy Map COVID-19: A publicly available (beta) application focused on answering crucial questions faced by communities dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Link
  • ESRI: Maps, datasets, and applications that aid better understanding and decision-making around COVID-19 in your community or organization. Link

 

July 9, 2020

Operational Updates

Office of the Governor

Governor Abbott Issues Proclamation Expanding Hospital Capacity in 11 Trauma Service Areas and amending Executive Order GA-27 relating to increased hospital capacity in Texas during the disaster posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Department of the Treasury

OIG released reporting requirements for CRF recipients

On July 2, Department of the Treasury’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a memorandum with instructions for recipients of the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). The OIG memorandum provides instructions for CRF recipients for record keeping and reporting. As stated in the CARES Act, Treasury’s OIG is responsible for monitoring and oversight of the CRF payments. Please note that the first quarterly report is due on July 17. For questions on the memorandum or for help with the reporting requirements please contact Treasury OIG at CARES.

Updated Coronavirus Relief Fund FAQ’s for States, Tribes, and Local Governments

On June 24, Treasury released an updated list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the distribution and use of Coronavirus Relief Fund funds. Among other new guidance, the updated Q/A provides that States, Tribes, and localities can use Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars for the 25% FEMA cost share. The updated FAQ’s can be found here. More information on the Coronavirus Relief Fund can be found here.

  • Note Treasury’s July 8 revisions regarding whether CRF payments can be used to cover increased administrative leave costs of public employees who could not telework in the event of a stay at home order or a case of COVID-19 in the workplace. Per the updated FAQ’s, “the statute requires that payments be used only to cover costs that were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020. As stated in the Guidance, a cost meets this requirement if either (a) the cost cannot lawfully be funded using a line item, allotment, or allocation within that budget or (b) the cost is for a substantially different use from any expected use of funds in such a line item, allotment, or allocation. If the cost of an employee was allocated to administrative leave to a greater extent than was expected, the cost of such administrative leave may be covered using payments from the Fund.”

FEMA Releases Guidance on Federal Cost Share for Public Assistance Program

On July 2, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released clear guidance on how FEMA will treat the multiple sources of funding as they relate to the public assistance program and its cost share requirements. Generally, funding from other federal agencies cannot be used to meet the FEMA public assistance non-federal cost share requirement. For COVID-19, however, there are two exceptions: Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) dollars – mentioned above – and Department of House and Urban Development’s Community Disaster Block Grant (CDBG-CV).

HUD COVID-19 Webinar Series

July 13- Responding to the Housing Challenges Posed by the Pandemic Session 1

Register (Session 2 TBD) Information on HUD’s “Responding to COVID-19: A Webinar Series for Local Governments Serving Small Communities – Summer 2020”.

 

July 1 2020

Operational Resources

SETRPC Updated Guidance

  • Below is a link to Addendum 5 to the SETRPC Guidelines for Returning to Work (previously Guidelines for Returning to Work – SETRPC Offices – COVID-19).  This addendum covers new information related to the mandatory wearing of face coverings in Jefferson County and subsequently the SETRPC Offices through Tuesday, July 7, 2020.  It also revises information about returning to work if an employee or contractor has COVID-19 symptoms.  Please be sure to fully read the guidance provided.

Governor Abbott Updates

Governor Abbott Establishes Statewide Face Covering Requirement, Issues Proclamation To Limit Gatherings

Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. The Governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others.

Click here to read the full press release, executive order and proclamation.

Governor Abbott Issues Proclamation To Expand Hospital Capacity In Four Additional Texas Counties

Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation suspending elective surgeries at hospitals in Cameron, Hidalgo, Nueces, and Webb counties to help ensure hospital bed availability for COVID-19 patients in these communities. This proclamation amends the Governor’s previous Executive Order to include these four counties in addition to Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties.

Governor Abbott, HHSC Announce $9 Million for Nursing Facility Infection Control Projects to Prevent COVID-19

Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) today announced $9 million in federal funding for nursing facilities to implement infection control projects to protect residents and staff from the spread of COVID-19. Starting July 1, nursing facility providers in Texas are encouraged to submit applications to HHSC to receive this federal funding. Eligible items include:

  • Thermometers and temperature scanning equipment for staff and residents
  • Decontamination and disinfecting systems
  • Plexiglass barriers or portable walls to ensure social distancing and droplet protection
  • N95 fit-test equipment
  • Microbe-resistant flooring and wall coverings

For more details on how to apply, visit the Texas HHS website.

  • The deadline for applications is August 30..

Reminder: HHSC is continuing to accept applications for communication technology in nursing facilities, which are eligible to receive up to $3,000 per facility to purchase devices (e.g. iPads, tablets, webcams) and accessories (e.g. headphones, protective covers).

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

June sales tax revenue figures released. Click here for press release.

 

June 26, 2020

Executive Orders and proclamations can be found on the Legislative Reference Library website here.

Reminder: The Office of the Attorney General has the statutory authority to provide legal advice to a county judge, county commissioner, mayor, or the designated emergency management director of a political subdivision subject to a declared state of disaster. Click here for more information.

Governor Abbott Updates

  • Governor Abbott Takes Executive Action To Contain Spread Of COVID-19
    • Governor Greg Abbott today issued an executive order limiting certain businesses and services as part of the state’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. This decision comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations have increased and the positivity rate in Texas increased above 10%, which the Governor previously stated would lead to further preventative action. The targeted, measured directives in the executive order are based on links between certain types of businesses and services and the recent rise in positive cases throughout the state.
      • The order includes the following:
        • All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at 12:00 PM today. These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
        • Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a capacity not to exceed 50% of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning Monday, June 29, 2020.
        • Rafting and tubing businesses must close.
        • Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.
    • Click here to view the Executive Order.
    • For the full press release, click here.
  • Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Expanding Hospital Capacity
    • Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order to ensure hospital bed availability for COVID-19 patients as Texas faces an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The Governor’s order suspends elective surgeries at hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties. Under this order, the Governor directs all hospitals in these counties to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.
    • Through proclamation, the Governor can add or subtract from the list of counties included in the Executive Order to address surges in hospitalizations that may arise in other parts of the state.
  • Governor Abbott Announces Temporary Pause Of Additional Reopening Phase
    • Governor Greg Abbott announced that the State of Texas will pause any further phases to open Texas as the state responds to the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Businesses that are permitted to open under the previous phases can continue to operate at the designated occupancy levels and under the minimum standard health protocols provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

 

June 24, 2020

Operational Resources (If you have resources you have found to be helpful and are willing to share, please send to me for inclusion in future TARC COVID-19 Updates)

  • SETRPC Updated Guidance
    • Below is a link to Addendum 4 to the SETRPC Guidelines for Returning to Work (previously Guidelines for Returning to Work – SETRPC Offices – COVID-19) shared with SETRPC staff Tuesday. The addendum covers new information related to the mandatory wearing of face coverings in Jefferson County and subsequently the SETRPC Offices.
  • H-GAC Employee Check-In App
    • Below is a link to the instructions and screenshots of the computer-based application H-GAC employees are using to check into the building.

Governor Abbott Updates

  • Governor Abbott Expands Local Authority On Outdoor Gatherings, Directs HHSC To Enact Emergency Rules To Increase Safety At Child Care Centers
    • As COVID-19 cases rise in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has expanded the ability of mayors and county judges to impose restrictions on outdoor gatherings of over 100 people. Previously, this applied only to outdoor gatherings over 500 people. The Governor has also directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to enact emergency rules that provide strict health and safety standards and procedures related to COVID-19 for child care centers in Texas. These two actions are based on data showing an increase in COVID-19 transmission stemming from large gatherings and child care centers.
  • Governor Abbott, TDEM To Provide Free Masks To All Texans Who Are Tested At State-Run COVID-19 Mobile Testing Sites
    • Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), in partnership with the Texas Military Department, will begin distributing 3-ply surgical masks to every Texan who undergoes COVID-19 testing at state-run mobile test collection sites. Beginning tomorrow, each Texan who receives a COVID-19 test at a state-run mobile testing site will be provided with four masks to take home with them. Texans can find a testing site near them by visiting TDEM's COVID-19 Test Collection Site map.
  • Office Of The Governor, UT Southwestern Medical Center Release New Spanish-Language COVID-19 PSA
    • The Office of the Governor and UT Southwestern Medical Center today released a new Spanish-language public service announcement (PSA) on how Texans can protect themselves and others from COVID-19. In the PSA, Amneris Luque, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease and Geographic Medicine, advises Texans to wear a mask in public, avoid touching your face, wash your hands frequently and effectively, and practice social distancing.

Federal Agency Updates

  • Department of Treasury
    • Updates were made today to the Frequently Asked Questions for the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) being administered by TDEM for jurisdictions not receiving a direct allocation from the federal government.
  • Department of Labor
    • The U.S. Department of Labor will host several webinars in June and July to discuss how the Department is helping workers and employers by reducing regulatory burdens and making it easier to understand and comply with the law. The webinars will also provide an opportunity for workers, employers, and state and local governments to ask questions and discuss how the Department can expand and improve access to its compliance assistance materials.
    • Compliance Assistance Webinars
    • All events will include U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Jonathan Wolfson.
    • The webinars will be hosted by the Department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and its Office of Compliance Initiatives. Attendance is free, but attendees must pre-register online. If you have questions, please contact Marisela Douglass at douglass.marisela.

 

June 22, 2020

Governor Abbott Provides Update On COVID-19 Response, Urges Texans To Follow Guidelines

Governor Greg Abbott today provided an update on Texas' continued response to COVID-19. The Governor discussed several steps the state is taking to mitigate the spread of the virus in recent weeks—including increasing enforcement of health and safety regulations, rapidly increasing testing in hot spots, and working with hospitals throughout the state to ensure they have the ability to treat Texans who test positive for COVID-19.

H-GAC EDA CARES Act Grant Webinar

The Houston-Galveston Area Council and Gulf Coast Economic Development District hosted a regional webinar with the U.S. Economic Development Administration to learn how communities can access Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant funding for economic development.

Federal Agency Resources

FEMA Hosts Additional Webinars on COVID-19 Operational Guidance for Hurricane Season

FEMA is hosting additional webinars to expand awareness and understanding of the newly released "COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season." FEMA released this guidance to help emergency managers and public health officials best prepare for disasters while continuing to respond to and recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The webinars will allow emergency managers an opportunity to discuss how the guidance can assist jurisdictions review and modify their plans given the constraints and limitations of the ongoing pandemic. To register:

  • Webinar: 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday, June 23
  • Webinar:  4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 24
  • Webinar: 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 25

Download the “COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season” on the FEMA website.

DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Releases Disinformation Toolkit

CISA released a Disinformation Toolkit to help state, local, tribal and territorial (SLTTs) officials bring awareness to misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories related to COVID-19.  The Toolkit includes talking points, frequently asked questions, and flyers, and provides simple steps individuals can take to combat false or misleading information related to the pandemic.

Reminder: the TARC e-Learning Grants Management Skills Development Series begins this Wednesday, June 24th at 10:30am with the 2CFR200 Refresher including grant compliance, and discussion of accounting and financial reporting for various CARES Act and other federal grant programs.

Register here.

 

June 15, 2020

Operational Updates & Resources

State Updates

  • Governor Abbott Extends Disaster Declaration

On June 11, Governor Abbott extended the March 13 disaster declaration for the State of Texas. Included in this extension are the suspensions of Open Meetings requirements as noted in the original declaration for an additional 30 days unless other action is taken by the Governor. The proclamation extending the March 13 disaster declaration is available below.

OneStar Foundation is announcing the availability of $500,000 in grant funding through the Texas COVID Relief Fund to support organizations across the state working to ensure the economic recovery of communities in Texas. Grants of up to $150,000 will support projects that address the unmet needs of vulnerable populations and underserved communities in the areas of community and economic development, healthcare, and education. Funds can be requested for general operational expenses or for project expenses of a specific COVID-related project. With limited funding available for this round, priority will be given to organizations helping address gaps and unmet needs across the state, as further detailed below.  Additional rounds may be announced if funds become available.

    • Eligibility
      • Organization Type: 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations and government entities
      • Service Area: Statewide or multiple county jurisdiction
      • Services Provided: Organization must provide services that address immediate response or long-term recovery efforts in response to COVID-19 in at least one of the three areas:
        • Health
        • Education and Childcare
        • Community and Economic Development
      • Additional Funding Criteria
        • With limited funding available for this round of grant awards, three additional criteria have been identified, and funding will be prioritized for nonprofit organizations and government agencies that meet all or most of these criteria:
          • Organizations with a history of providing services statewide or across a significant portion of the state.
          • Organizations with a history of providing services to regions of the state that are rural, underserved, and/or with limited access to local philanthropic relief funding.
          • Organizations with a history of providing services to one or more vulnerable populations, such as seniors, children, homeless, low income and displaced workers, first responders, medical professionals, and those without other resources.
    • Grant Terms
      • Grant Type: Funds can be requested for general operational expenses or for project expenses of a specific COVID-related project
      • Grant Amount: Grants will range from $20,000 to $150,000
      • Grant Term: up to 1 year
    • Process
      • Organizations that meet eligibility criteria should submit a proposal application via OneStar Foundation’s online portal no later than Thursday, June 25, 2020 by 11:59PM Central Time. Proposals will be scored based on alignment with our funding priorities. The OneStar Foundation Board of Directors has final approval of all grant awards.
    • Timeline
    • Thursday, June 11, 2020 Application opens
      Thursday, June 25, 2020 Application deadline
      Wednesday, July 22, 2020 Award notification
  • Comptroller’s Office

Federal Agency Updates

  • FEMA Releases Business Emergency Operations Center Quick Start Guidance as America is Opening Up Again

Engagement and integration of businesses and other organizations is critical as communities work to implement reopening plans aligned to the President’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again and informed by available Community Mitigation Guidance and guidance for businesses and workplaces.

    • The "Business Emergency Operations Center (BEOC) Quick Start Guidance" provides states, locals, tribes and territories with foundational concepts for establishing a Business Emergency Operations Center (BEOC) to support their response and recovery operations for COVID-19.
    • Establishing a BEOC provides a jurisdiction a consistent integration point for private and public coordination for sustained response and recovery operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with no requirement for physical contact.
  • New Census COVID-19 Hub Helps Guide Pandemic Recovery

The U.S. Census Bureau has launched a new tool — dubbed the Census COVID-19 Hub — designed to help guide the nation as it begins recovery efforts from the sweeping COVID-19 pandemic by providing economic and demographic data.

The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, issued new and revised guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This guidance implements the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA), signed into law by President Trump on June 5, 2020.

CDC created a communication toolkit to help public health professionals, health departments, community organizations, and healthcare systems and providers reach populations who may need COVID-19 prevention messaging in their native languages.

June 9, 2020

*DSHS COVID-19 Update Call – Now Tuesdays Only*

  • The Texas Department of State Health Services has rescheduled the statewide COVID-19 update call for elected officials, public health and medical partners, emergency management, schools and higher education officials. The calls will now take place every Tuesday at 4 pm. The call information is below and please remember to delete any previous calendar invites for the call. A new calendar invite has been attached for your convenience.
  • Call information: 
    • 800-289-0462
    • Passcode:805539

Governor Abbott, TDEM Announce Expanded Testing In Underserved Communities Disproportionately Impacted By COVID-19

  • Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is coordinating with local officials, public health officials, and emergency management offices in cities across the state to identify and rapidly expand COVID-19 testing in underserved and minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the virus. This mission is part of TDEM's ongoing partnership with the Texas Military Department (TMD), the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force (EMTF), and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and increase testing where needed.

The Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas

  • The website linked above includes the new and updated statuses of businesses, services and activities around Texas, as well as resources to assist your organizations and communities.

COVID-19 Test Collection Site Map

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

June 1, 2020

State Agency Resources

TDEM Coronavirus Relief Fund FAQs

  • TDEM released an FAQ document related to the Coronavirus Relief Fund. The document includes 71 questions and answers on the following broad topics:
    • Eligible costs
    • Funding process steps and documentation requirements
    • Terms and conditions/fund usage restrictions
    • Funding allocation and associated responsibilities
    • Cities located in multiple counties
    • Treasury guidance and Treasury FAQs
    • Coordination with other sources of funding
  • TDEM has established an email address that officials can use to submit questions related to the Coronavirus Relief Fund

Office of the Attorney General has updated its website for submission of requests for legal advice. The Office of the Attorney General may provide legal counsel to political subdivisions (cities and counties) subject to a declared state of disaster on issues related to disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery applicable to the area subject to the disaster declaration.

Federal Agency Resources

Small Business Administration

  • Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness Application and Guidelines
    • The Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness Application, released May 16, 2020, is available online. You can find it here.
      • The guidance can be found here.
    • If you received a PPP loan, you must complete the PPP Forgiveness Application and submit it to your lender. You may begin submitting your forgiveness application beginning July 1, 2020. The application itself is 11 pages. You will also need documentation such as payroll processing records and tax filing statements, non-payroll expenses (electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, internet access), PPP loan contract, EIDL contract, and any supporting documents you used when applying for the PPP loan.
      • Here are some tips for success:
        • Don't wait, gather all your documents now
        • Create a separate bank account for you PPP loan
        • Document the number of Full Time Employees (FTE) with the hours they worked and pay they received during the 8 week period
        • Stay up to date with any new laws and regulations
        • Have patience
        • Reach out to SBA resource partners for assistance
  • Beware of Scams and Fraud Schemes
    • The Office of Inspector General recognizes that we are facing unprecedented times and is alerting the public about potential fraud schemes related to economic stimulus programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration in response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest financial assistance bill to date, includes provisions to help small businesses. Fraudsters have already begun targeting small business owners during these economically difficult times.  Be on the lookout for grant fraud, loan fraud, and phishing.

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings
    • Workers in office buildings may be at risk for exposure to the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Office building employers, building owners and managers, and building operations specialists can take steps to create a safe and healthy workplace and protect workers and clients. The link below includes several resources from the CDC all employers can use to help protect their employees and clients.
  •  Employers with Workers at High Risk
    • As workplaces consider a gradual scale up of activities towards pre-COVID-19 operating practices, it is particularly important to keep in mind that some workers are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Employers should take particular care to reduce workers’ risk of exposure to COVID-19, while making sure to be compliant with relevant Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) regulations. First and foremost, this means following CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance for reducing workplace exposure for all employees. All decisions about following these recommendations should be made in collaboration with local health officials and other state and local authorities who can help assess the current level of mitigation needed based on levels of COVID-19 community transmission and the capacities of the local public health and healthcare systems. CDC has released interim guidance, laid out in a series of three steps, to inform a gradual scale up of operations.  The scope and nature of community mitigation suggested decreases from Step 1 to Step 3.

 Department of Labor Workplace Safety Tips

  • The U.S. Department of Labor recently released a publication from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with safety tips for social distancing at work. DOL encourages you to forward this information to appropriate stakeholders, county governments and municipal governments in your state.
  • Safety measures employers can implement include:
    • Isolate any worker who begins to exhibit symptoms until they can either go home or leave to seek medical care;
    • Establish flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), if feasible;
    • Stagger breaks and re-arrange seating in common break areas to maintain physical distance between workers;
    • In workplaces where customers are present, mark six-foot distances with floor tape in areas where lines form, use drive-through windows or curbside pickup, and limit the number of customers allowed at one time;
    • Move or reposition workstations to create more distance, and install plexiglass partitions; and
    • Encourage workers to bring any safety and health concerns to the employer’s attention.
  • Previous OSHA publications and industry-specific guidance related to COVID-19 can be viewed at www.osha.gov/coronavirus.
  • Additional information and guidance from the Department of Labor can be viewed by visiting the DOL COVID-19 website at www.dol.gov/coronavirus.

May 27, 2020

Updates from Governor Abbott

  • Governor Abbott, HHSC Announce $3.6 Million To Connect Nursing Facility Residents And Families
    • Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) today announced $3.6 million in funding for nursing facilities to purchase tablets, webcams, and headphones to connect residents with their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. Texas is encouraging nursing facility providers to submit applications to HHSC to receive up to $3,000 in federal funding per facility for purchasing communication technology devices.
    • Press release available here.
  • Governor Abbott Announces Additional Services And Activities That Can Open Under Phase II
    • Governor Greg Abbott yesterday issued a proclamation expanding additional services and activities that can open under Phase II of the state's plan to safely and strategically open. With this proclamation, water parks, recreational sport programs for adults, driver education programs, and food-court dining areas within shopping malls can begin operations with limited occupancy or regulations to protect the health and safety of Texans.
    • Press release available here.

 State Agency Updates

  • Department of State Health Services
    • With more data being reported, the DSHS dashboard now has two sections:
      • Case data: bit.ly/3be7qbJ
      • Testing and hospital data: bit.ly/3d7nNby
      • To switch between sections, click the link in the bottom right corner of the webpage.
  • Reminder: Texas Division of Emergency Management Information-CRF
    • Please see Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) Website and Terms and Conditions requiring a percentage of resources received to be spent in specific categories.
    • Please note eligible jurisdictions should direct questions to: CRF

Federal Updates

  • President Trump Signs Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery
    • The Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery Order calls on agencies across the federal government to use emergency authorities provided under the Administrative Procedures Act to swiftly rescind, modify, waive, or provide exemptions from regulations and other requirements that inhibit job creation and economic growth. It further calls on agencies to consider permanently rescinding or modifying any regulations that were temporarily halted in response to COVID-19. The order could impact virtually any regulation from the numerous government agencies that promulgate rules, including financial regulations, environmental protections, and agricultural production and distribution guidelines, among many others.
  • US Department of Treasury
  • Administration for Community Living
    • Senior Nutrition Survival Guide
      • With the number of FAQs and resources published to address this rapidly evolving situation, the Administration on Community Living has created a "survival guide" to help you find the resources that best address your questions. The guide is most relevant for OAA III-C programs, but also includes information to help OAA Title III-B and III-E grantees navigate nutrition-related matters.
  • SBA and Treasury Release Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application
    • The Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application. The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.

May 22, 2020

Operational Updates & Resources

State Agency Updates & Resources

  • DSHS COVID-19 Update Call
    • There will be no 4:00 pm DSHS COVID-19 Update call Monday, May 25, 2020.

Federal Agency Updates & Resources

  • Economic Development Administration
    • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Frequently Asked Questions
      • EDA has posted answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) to help understand EDA’s CARES Act funding, who qualifies for grants, how to apply, and more. There are also answers to questions current EDA recipients may have and that provide additional, relevant program, and application information.
      • Jorge Ayala, EDA Regional Director, will be joining us during the TARC Board of Directors meeting on June 5, 2020, to provide an update on the funding available to Texas and how EDA will partner with Texas regional councils as one partner to help rebuild the state’s economy.
  • CISA Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance Version 3.1
    • On May 19, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released version 3.1 of its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.
      • Version 3.1 provides clarity around many individual worker categories, including expanded language for those workers supporting at-risk communities and the essential nature of health facility workers in communities across the country.
      • Please direct any questions on this guidance and its use to CISA.CAT.
  • FEMA
    • Public Assistance Webinar Schedule
      • For a list of FEMA Public Assistance webinars for the week of May 25-29, 2020, click on the link below.
    • FEMA Preliminary Damage Assessment Webinar
      • May 26, 27, & 28 at 2:00 pm Eastern
        • FEMA recently released an updated Preliminary Damage Assessment Guide (PDA Guide) and its accompanying Preliminary Damage Assessment Pocket Guide. The PDA Guide will be effective on June 8, 2020.
        • Click here for the updated guides.
          • Adobe Connect Webinar: Information
          • Audio for the webinar is available through a telephone dial-in:
            • 1-888-270-9936; Access Code 4025899#
          • Closed Captioning Link: Information
    • Update to Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants
  • CDC Guidance
    • This week, the CDC published a document summarizing CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response. This document lays out approaches that state, local, territory and tribal authorities as well as businesses, and other institutions can use to assess when to move from one phase to another. Information

 

May 20, 2020

Operational Updates & Resources

State Agency Updates

  • Texas Division of Emergency Management Information-CRF
    • Please see Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) Website and Terms and Conditions requiring a percentage of resources received to be spent in specific categories.
    • Please note eligible jurisdictions should direct questions to: CRF.

 

May 18, 2020

Governor Abbott Announces Phase Two To Open Texas

Governor Greg Abbott announced this afternoon the second phase of the State of Texas' ongoing plan to open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

  • Click here for press release.
  • Please note the following from page 4 of today’s Executive Order:
    • In accordance with guidance from DSHS Commissioner Dr. Hellerstedt, and to achieve the goals established by the President to reduce the spread of COVID-19, every person in Texas shall, except where necessary to provide or obtain Covered Services, minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. People over the age of 65, however, are strongly encouraged to stay at home as much as possible; to maintain appropriate distance from any member of the household who has been out of the residence in the previous 14 days; and, if leaving the home, to implement social distancing and to practice good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and sanitation.
      • “Covered Services” shall consist of everything listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 3.0 or any subsequent version, plus religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship. These covered services are not subject to the conditions and limitations….”
  • Governor’s Task Force to Open Texas Checklists As many digest today’s additional guidance the checklists linked above might provide an easy way to navigate timelines and recommendation by specific organization. One of importance to regional councils is below:
    • Office-Based Employers Minimum Standard Health Protocols
      • The document linked below contains a checklist with minimum recommended health protocols for all office work employers choosing to operate in Texas. Office work employers may adopt additional protocols consistent with their specific needs and circumstances to help protect the health and safety of all employees, contractors, and customers.

Operational Updates & Resources

  • ETCOG Return to Onsite Work Plan
  • CDC Workplace Decision Tool
    • The CDC has created a tool workplaces can use as part of its considerations for reopening. The purpose of this tool is to assist employers in making (re)opening decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to protect vulnerable workers. It is important to check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community.

May 15, 2020

Regional Resources

  • CAPCOG EDA CARES Act Webinar

State Updates & Resources

Upcoming Webinars

  • COVID-19 Cost Recovery Webinar (FEMA’s Public Assistance funding)
    • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm | Tuesday, May 26 | Register
    • Join the International Association of Emergency Managers Disaster Cost Recovery & Finance Caucus in a discussion of the Public Assistance aspects during the COVID-19 epidemic. Note: This call will focus exclusively on FEMA’s Public Assistance funding for Category B, Emergency Protective measures. We will NOT be discussing any of the medical aspects, except as they may be eligible for FEMA funding. We will also not be discussing DHHS or CDC funding.

 Federal Resources

  • New Census Bureau COVID-19 Data Hub
    • The Census Bureau released a new resource page to help federal agencies, businesses, and communities make decisions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to the Census Bureau’s resource pages created during natural disasters, this resource page includes information on population demographics, economic indicators and businesses.
    • This resource page includes information on population demographics, economic indicators and businesses. It features a new interactive data hub that centralizes data previously released from the American Community Survey and the County Business Patterns program to facilitate users’ access to data useful in pandemic-related decision-making.
    • For more information, click here.
    • For additional COVID-19 resources from the Census Bureau, click here.

 

May 13, 2020

Operational Updates & Resources Please feel free to send us any resources you have found to be helpful.

Texas Department of Emergency Management Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) (Funding available for cities and counties)

  • Letter to Elected Officials from Governor Abbott
  • For more information and to register for funding, visit https://tdem.texas.gov/crf/.
  • Summary:
    • Under the CARES Act, the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) is to be used to make payments for specified uses to states and local governments. The total CRF funding allocated to the state of Texas is approximately $11 billion. The U.S. Treasury managed the initial distribution of these funds to states and jurisdictions with populations above 500,000.
      • These 18 Texas jurisdictions (Austin, Bexar County, Collin County, Dallas County, Dallas, Denton County, El Paso County, El Paso, Fort Bend County, Fort Worth, Harris County, Hidalgo County, Houston, Montgomery County, San Antonio, Tarrant County, Travis County and Williamson County) received their allocation of the $11 billion directly from the Treasury.
    • The state is now making funds available for eligible expenses to the jurisdictions not included in the 18 jurisdictions listed above. Distribution of funds is based on a calculation of $55 per capita.
    • The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) will manage the distribution of funds, review of expenses and reimbursement. Initially, each eligible jurisdiction will receive an immediate distribution of 20 percent (20%) of the allocations listed in this document. The remainder of the allocation will be reimbursement based. Jurisdictions will submit documentation to TDEM and request reimbursement.

A PLAYBOOK FOR RESILIENCY: Creating Opportunity for All Texans

  • As state leaders begin to restart the Texas economy, policy experts from the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin have issued a nine-point blueprint for rebuilding a more equitable and inclusive future Texas. The report, “A Playbook for Resiliency: Creating Opportunity for All Texans,” co-authored by Kirk Watson, founding dean of the Hobby School of Public Affairs, and Steven Pedigo, professor of practice and director of the LBJ School’s Urban Lab.
  • TARC has already reached out to Dr. Pedigo and he has agreed to visit with our membership virtually and even in person in the future. We will continue to work with him to find a time most suitable.

 

May 11, 2020

Texas Department of State Health Services COVID-19 Data

  • DSHS COVID-19 Case Count Dashboard
    • The DSHS COVID-19 dashboard will now update daily at 3 p.m. CDT. This change is to address an increase in data the dashboard is reporting and to make their daily updates as current as possible.
    • The dashboard can be found here.
  • In addition to the DSHS COVID-19 Dashboard, DSHS has made available the following datasets. Please note that all data are provisional and subject to change.
    • Cases over Time by County - Updated Daily (Last updated: 5/11/2020)
      • This Excel files contains daily case counts by county, beginning March 4, 2020.
    • Fatalities over Time by County - Updated Daily (Last updated: 5/11/2020)
      • This Excel files contains daily fatality counts by county, beginning March 4, 2020.
    • Estimated Active Cases over Time by County - Updated Daily (Last updated: 5/11/2020)
      • This Excel files contains daily active case estimates by county, beginning April 7, 2020.
    • County Trends Dashboard - Updated Daily
      • This dashboard contains daily new case and fatality trends by county, as well as total cases per 1,000 persons by county.
    • Cumulative Tests by County - Updated Daily (Last updated: 5/11/2020)
      • This Excel file contains the cumulative number of tests administered by county. Data are overwritten daily.
    • Accessible Dashboard Data - Updated Daily (Last updated: 5/11/2020)
      • This Excel file contains the underlying data currently displayed in the DSHS COVID-19 Dashboard. Data are displayed on multiple tabs and include daily and cumulative case and fatality data, estimated recoveries, statewide hospital data, and case demographics for confirmed cases. Data are overwritten daily.

Reminder: Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program (Funding Available)

  • Final date for application submission is 6/15/2010.
  • The updated Request for Applications (RFA) with Frequently Asked Questions is posted on the eGrants website on the “Calendar” page located here: https://egrants.gov.texas.gov/fundopp.aspx

Administration for Community Living Updates

  • Reopening Guidelines for Senior Nutrition Programs 
    • Developed as a collaborative effort between the National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging, National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services, National Council on Aging, and ACL, these guidelines offer suggestions for senior nutrition programs to consider as their states move through the phases of reopening.  

 Reminder: TARC COVID-19 Resources Online

  • TARC has collated the information and resources we’ve been sharing with you in these COVID-19 email blasts on our website for easier access. The information is archived in chronological order. Because of the ever-changing nature of the response to the pandemic, older information and guidance may have changed since its original distribution. If you have any questions or site updates, please let TARC staff know.
  • The page can be found here: https://txregionalcouncil.org/regional-programs/covid-19-resources/

 

May 8, 2020

State Updates

  • Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)
    • OAAA Releases Notification of Funds Available for AAAs- COVID-19 CARES Act Funds (Funding Available)
      • The FY2020 CARES Act Notification of Funds Announcements for the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) have been placed on the Secure FTP site https://sftp.hhs.texas.gov in the FY2020 NFA folders for each AAA.
      • Per the HHSC AES COVID-19 Weekly Webinar & Conference Call held on Thursday, May 7, 2020, HHSC is in the process of updating the Request for Adjustment (RFAJ) and Request for Reimbursement (RFR) Templates.
        • HHSC will notify all AAAs once the revised templates are available for use and have been published on the Secure FTP site.
      • HHSC Access and Eligibility Service (AES) also shared the Ombudsman’s COVID-19 Specific Use of Funds memorandum concerning ombudsman services.
      • The NFA #20 – FY2020 CARES Act placed on the FTP site for each AAA includes:
        • Title III-B, Title III-C2, and Title III-E,
        • Title VII-OM
        • The graphic below shows the breakdown of these funding amounts statewide.

    • HHSC AAA COVID-19 FAQ Webinar Recording
      • HHSC Access and Eligibility Services (AES) held their weekly webinar with Area Agencies on Aging and stakeholders.
        • Please click HERE to access the webinar.
      • As a reminder, as AES continues to receive updates from their federal partners, the guidance provided during this webinar may change.
  • TDHCA Invites Stakeholders to Subscribe to CARES Act CDBG Email List
    • On April 13, 2020, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) was designated by Governor Greg Abbott to be the recipient of CARES Act Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) funding for the state. An email subscription list has been created for those interested in receiving information on the Department's activities related to CDBG-CV.
    • Those on the list will receive announcements of hearings, funding availability, programming activities, trainings, and other pertinent information.
    • The email list can be joined by going to http://maillist.tdhca.state.tx.us/list/subscribe.html?lui=f9mu0g2g&mContainer=2&mOwner=G382s2w2r2p.
  • Governor Abbott, OneStar Foundation Announce Texas COVID Relief Fund
    • Governor Greg Abbott and the OneStar Foundation announced the Texas COVID Relief Fund, which will provide critical funding and resources to organizations across the state working on the ground to support the economic recovery of local communities. Funds raised will be distributed through grants focused on the areas of community and economic development, healthcare, and education. Funds will also be used to support local priorities and organizations serving the unmet needs of vulnerable populations and underserved communities.
    • For more information on how to access the Texas COVID Relief Fund or to make a donation, visit the OneStar Foundation website.

 Federal Updates

TARC has been in discussions with Jorge Ayala, Director of the EDA Austin Regional Office who will join the regularly scheduled TARC Executive Directors’ Council conference call on Tuesday. All EDDs should be getting individual email letters from EDA prior to Tuesday’s call. Jorge and EDA staff will be on the call to go over the letter and answer any questions you may have.

    • U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross yesterday announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is now accepting applications from eligible grantees for  Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) supplemental funds (EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance) intended to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
    • Under this announcement, EDA will make CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants under the authority of its Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, which is intended to be flexible and responsive to the economic development needs and priorities of local and regional stakeholders.
    • EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance investments will support a wide range of non-construction and construction activities, including Revolving Loan Funds, in regions across the country experiencing severe economic dislocations brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
    • Examples of projects that EDA may fund through its CARES Act Recovery Assistance include economic recovery planning and preparing technical assistance strategies to address economic dislocations caused by the coronavirus pandemic, preparing or updating resiliency plans to respond to future pandemics, implementing entrepreneurial support programs to diversify economies, and constructing public works and facilities that will support economic recovery, including the deployment of broadband for purposes including supporting telehealth and remote learning for job skills.
    • Eligible applicants under the EAA program include a(n):
      • District Organization;
      • Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes;
      • State, county, city, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions;
      • Institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education; or
      • Public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State.
  • COVID-19 Disinformation Activity
    • False and misleading information related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) are a significant challenge.
      • This CISA Insight provides an overview of coronavirus disinformation and steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of sharing inaccurate information with your friends and family.

May 6, 2020

Updates from Governor Abbott

  • Governor Abbott Expands Business Openings In Texas, Announces Surge Response Teams To Combat COVID-19
    • Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference where announced that he will be issuing an Executive Order to expand openings of certain businesses and activities. The Governor also announced new guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on graduation ceremonies and the creation of Surge Response Teams to combat any COVID-19 flare ups in Texas.
  • Governor Abbott, TDHCA Secure Financial Housing Assistance
    • *Funding Available* COGs are eligible applicants.
    • Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) announced that Texas will provide HOME Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) to Texans experiencing housing challenges due to COVID-19. These TBRA funds have been made possible through a series of waivers recently authorized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
    • TDHCA has developed a short-term rental assistance program (3-6 months) for low-income renter households to help families and individuals with up to 100 percent of the cost of rent, security deposit payments and utility bills for tenants economically impacted by COVID-19.
    • Eligible entities, including nonprofit organizations, units of local government, public housing authorities, and Councils Of Government that do not have an existing Reservation System Participant (RSP) Agreement, and would like to provide TBRA under the COVID-19 set-aside, may submit the abbreviated Application to the Department in order to access these funds.
      • To apply, visit: http://www.tdhca.state.tx.us/home-division/applications.htm.  
        • Applications to access the Reservation System will be accepted on an ongoing basis.
        • Administrators with current RSP Agreements will be able to access available funding under their existing set-asides, and may submit a request to amend their existing RSP Agreement to add the COVID-19 TBRA set-aside.
          • An RSP Agreement is not a guarantee of funds.
        • For Application or program questions, please send an email to the HOME Division at home.
          • You may also contact TDHCA HOME Single Family Production Coordinator Raul Salazar at 512-475-2975 or at raul.salazar.
        • For any technical questions or problems with the Excel Application spreadsheets, please contact TDHCA HOME Manager Chad Landry at chad.landry or 512-475-2135.
  • Governor Abbott, HHSC Announce $3 Million Emergency Grant For Aging, Disability Services
    • *For those of you who operate ADRCs*
    • Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has received approval for a $3 million emergency grant for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living.

Operational Updates

State Updates & Resources

  • AAA Use of Debit and Gift Cards During a Disaster: Update
  • UT Austin Seeking Rural Communities for Economic Development Project
    • The IC2 Institute of UT Austin is seeking participation from rural communities across the state.  This opportunity is completely free and will provide you with valuable data that could benefit the economic growth of your community.
    • The IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin engages in programs to help remote or non-urban communities develop evidence-based strategies to achieve sustainable economic development.
      • This summer IC² is focusing its efforts on how Texas communities can recover from the COVID-19 crisis, and will be forming a large research and reporting team to investigate challenges and assets of smaller cities throughout Texas.
      • The participating cities should receive valuable information to help take recovery steps.
    • If you would like to request that your community be considered for inclusion in the summer research project, please review this site and complete this brief online form.
      • The form asks for a primary contact for each interested city and a list of other local contacts who would be willing to provide information to the IC² team, so please discuss this opportunity among community leaders before submitting the form.
      • Completing the form does not obligate you to participate, nor does it guarantee that your community will be included.
    • If you have any questions, you can email Debra Dzwonczyk (debra) at the IC² Institute directly.

Federal Updates & Resources

  • SBA Small Business COVID19 Information Webinar
    • May 7 | 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm | Webinar | Skype Call in Link
    • The SBA San Antonio District Office will provide the latest information from the SBA to help small businesses with their economic recovery.
      • Join by phone: 210-469-4148  - Conference ID: 450990275
  •  CISA Telework Best Practices and Cybersecurity Tips
    • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) launched a dedicated telework resource page intended to advise and support the incorporation of cybersecurity considerations when adopting or expanding telework policies, such as the use of video conferencing software and related collaboration tools.
    • These new products are available at cisa.gov/telework. This page is a one-stop shop for telework cybersecurity guidance for critical infrastructure, government, and citizens.
  • Opening America’s Workplaces Again National Online Dialogue
    • The U.S. Department of Labor is hosting a national online dialogue to solicit comments on safely reopening America’s workplaces.
    • The national online dialogue began on April 30th and runs through May 7th.

 

May 4, 2020

Operational Updates Please send us any items you have found helpful for your region.

  *DSHS Daily COVID-19 Call Update*

  • Please delete all previous 4PM DSHS COVID-19 Daily Call for Public Health and Medical Partners and Emergency Management/Government Officials calendar information. Beginning 5/4/2020, these calls will take place Mondays and Thursdays.
    • Call Information:
      • 800-289-0462
      • Passcode: 805539
    • For Thursday, 5/7/2020 ONLY
      • CALL INFORMATION:
        • 800-636-3874
        • Passcode: 788355

Governor’s Small Business Webinar Series

  • Wednesday, May 6 | 1:00 – 2:00 pm | REGISTER HERE
  • The Governor’s Small Business Webinar Series - East Texas will provide small business owners and entrepreneurs with timely, relevant, actionable information on COVID-19 recovery resources. Businesses will also get the chance to connect with local experts and support systems. The agenda will include:
    • Update on programs in the CARES Act
    • Workforce-related topics such as hiring, benefits, payroll and unemployment
    • Live Q&A with the experts
  • Featured speakers will include an expert from the Texas Workforce Commission as well as local Small Business Development Centers.

TARC e-Learning: Using Social Media to Inform the Public

Wednesday, May 6 | 11:00 AM CDT | Register Here

  • Join two digital marketing and public relations pros from Elizabeth Christian Public Relations along with H-GAC for tips, tricks and best practices on how to make efficient use of the social media platforms that matter most to your area citizens. We’ll also hear from one region about how they’ve used social media successfully and lessons learned. You can brush up on the basics of posting, tagging and engagement as well as learning more about targeting people in your region specifically with boosting and more. @HouGalvAreaCog @ECPRaustin

 

May 1, 2020

TARC COVID-19 Resources Online

TARC has collated the information and resources we’ve been sharing with you in these COVID-19 email blasts on our website for easier access. The information is archived in chronological order. Because of the ever-changing nature of the response to the pandemic, older information and guidance may have changed since its original distribution. If you have any questions or site updates, please let TARC staff know.

Special thanks to Kimberly Lile Dowty, TARC’s Associate Director, for making this happen and helping with the access instructions below.

  • Accessing the Web Page
  • Searching for Information on the Web Page
    • If you’re looking for something specific on the page, the simplest way to do so is to use the Find Word function. This is available in the major web browsers, including ChromeMicrosoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Opera.
      1. Open the web page you want to search.
      2. Press Ctrl+F in Windows and Linux. Press Command+F on a Mac.
      3. Type the word (or phrase) you want to find.
      4. Press Enter.
      5. The web page scrolls to the nearest occurrence of the word. If the word occurs more than once on the web page you're searching, press Enter to go to the next occurrence. Or, select the arrows on the right (or left) side of the Find Word window.

TARC e-Learning: Using Social Media to Inform the Public

Wednesday, May 6 | 11:00 AM CDT | Register Here

  • Join two digital marketing and public relations pros from Elizabeth Christian Public Relations along with H-GAC for tips, tricks and best practices on how to make efficient use of the social media platforms that matter most to your area citizens. We’ll also hear from one region about how they’ve used social media successfully and lessons learned. You can brush up on the basics of posting, tagging and engagement as well as learning more about targeting people in your region specifically with boosting and more. @HouGalvAreaCog @ECPRaustin

CDC Operations Guidance

This guidance is intended for all Americans, whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home. Reopening America requires all of us to move forward together by practicing social distancing and other daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Governor’s Texas Business Bulletin

The email linked above contains several updates and resources from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism that may be of interest to you or the communities you serve.

COVID-19 Resource Reports (compiled by FEMA Region 6)

  • COVID-19 Supplemental Index updates
    • This index includes any offering entered under the following headings: CARES Act; Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act; Families First Coronavirus Response Act; and Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
  • Tribal-Eligible programs by deadline
    • Listing of resources that are eligible for Tribes and Tribal organizations to apply, all resource types, sorted by deadline.
  • General Federal Offerings with deadlines
    • Sampling of current Federal offerings of all types, for general distribution as reference for potential resources.

Federal COVID-19 Resources (Some of these resources may have been shared in prior communications)

April 29, 2020

Operational Updates Please send us items to share that have worked well in your region.

State Agency Updates & Resources

  • Health and Human Services Commission
    • HHSC Access and Eligibility Services (AES) cancelled tomorrow’s HHSC AES AAA COVID-19 Weekly Webinar & Conference Call.
      • They will resume the weekly meetings on Thursday, May 7, 2020.
      • Please click here to register for next week’s call.
    • In addition, AES will extend all Older Americans Act waivers through May 31, 2020.
  • TDEM/DSHS Mobile Testing Site Locator
  • DIR Webinar: Communicate with Confidence in a Virtual World!
    • Monday, May 4, 2020 | 11:00 am - Noon | Webinar Registration
      • Presented by Barnes Team Media and hosted by DIR as part of the Technology Today Series (TTS).
      • Welcome to this new virtual world! As we transition from in-person interaction to communicating virtually, being effective on camera has never been more important. It can be challenging and intimidating! However, there are practical and easy-to-implement tactics to help you be successful in virtual meetings and webinars - whether you're an attendee or the host. Kim and Mike Barnes will teach you how to show up well for these events. They will cover looking and sounding good, virtual etiquette, creating engaging meetings/webinars, being prepared and more. This will also include tips for best practices regarding microphones and webcams. Participants will gain a better understanding of what they are doing (or not doing) to create more powerful virtual connections.
      • Audience: This free webinar is open to any public sector employee interested in the topic.
      • Additional Information
        • This free webinar is hosted by DIR and sponsored by TASSCC.
        • DIR will award continuing education credit.
        • A recording will be available for 1 week only. It will take a day to prepare the recording, then check the DIR calendar listing for the link.
        • Please contact joy.bryant with any questions.

 Federal Agency Updates & Resources

April 27, 2020

Updates from Governor Abbott

  • Governor Greg Abbott today announced the first phase of the State of Texas' ongoing plan to open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19 and issued three Executive Orders.
  • View the Governor's Executive Orders issued today:
    • GA-18: Relating to the expanded reopening of services as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster.
    • GA-19: Relating to hospital capacity during the COVID-19 disaster.
    • GA-20: Relating to expanding travel without restrictions as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster.

Senate Work Groups Established to Discuss Pandemic Impact on Texas

TDEM Training Schedule 4/29-5/1

Governor's Small Business Webinar Series - South Texas

Federal Updates & Resources

  • FEMA has published the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: addressing PPE needs in non-healthcare setting.
    • This guidance summarizes how organizations should consider and manage their personal protective equipment (PPE) needs while ensuring the protection of workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response, including how to preserve limited supplies of PPE, how to consider need during periods of shortages, and how to acquire and request PPE (i.e., in the face of critical shortages and whereas normal supply chain allocation cannot meet operational requirements).
  • Workplace guidance for employers

April 24, 2020

TARC E-Learning: Using Social Media to Inform the Public

Wednesday, May 6 | 11:00 AM CDT | Register Here

  • Join two digital marketing and public relations pros from Elizabeth Christian Public Relations for tips, tricks and best practices on how to make efficient use of the social media platforms that matter most to your area citizens. We'll also hear from one region about how they've used social media successfully and lessons learned. You can brush up on the basics of posting, tagging and engagement as well as learning more about targeting people in your region specifically with boosting and more. @HouGalvAreaCog @ECPRaustin

Governor Abbott, HHSC Announce $54 Million To Support Older Texans During COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will receive nearly $54 million in federal funds to support older Texans and people with disabilities during the COVID-19 response. The funding will be used to support programs and services administered by the state’s 28 Area Agencies on Aging such as home-delivered meals, help with household chores, assistance with groceries, and respite care or other services for family caregivers.
  • Press release available here.

Governor Abbott, Chancellor Sharp, Chief Kidd Announce COVID-19 Federal Assistance Training For Local Leaders

  • Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will provide a series of free online trainings to help local officials understand, acquire, and administer federal assistance available to the state of Texas and municipalities through the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Beginning today, AgriLife Extension will offer these trainings online to help local leaders navigate the federal funding process, and in turn, respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly and effectively as possible.
  • Full press release available here.

HHSC AAA COVID-19 FAQ Webinar Recording

  • HHSC Access and Eligibility Services (AES) held a their weekly webinar with Area Agencies on Aging and stakeholders.
    • Please click here for the webinar.
    • As a reminder, as AES continues to receive updates from their federal partners, the guidance provided during this webinar may change.

April 22, 2020

USDA COVID-19 Rural Resource Guide

  • This resource matrix organizes funding opportunities identified in the CARES Act and other federal resources that can help support rural America.
    • The guide lists programs that can be used to provide immediate and long-term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These programs can support recovery efforts for rural residents, businesses and communities through:
      • technical, training, and management assistance;
      • financial assistance; and
      • state and local assistance.
    • Opportunities are categorized by customer and assistance type.
  • For more information on the immediate actions USDA is taking to respond to COVID-19, visit usda.gov/coronavirus.
  • Information and resources from HUD regarding COVID-19 can be found here: https://www.hud.gov/coronavirus.

Funding Update: Updated Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program RFA, Office of the Governor

  • The Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program RFA has been updated to include a list of FAQs.
  • In addition, the following information from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) was shared with TARC and will be included in the next update made by the Office of the Governor, Public Safety Office to the RFA.
    • Question:  Many justice system agencies (prosecutors, defense agencies, courts) are funded through the levy of fines and fees on defendants.  With arrests and bookings down due to the cascade of events stemming from covid-19 and social distancing, revenue from fines and fees are also way down.  Some of these justice system agencies are facing immediate (or anticipated longer-term) budget cuts.  Understanding that the DOJ Grants Financial Guide defines supplanting as to “deliberately reduce State or local funds because of the existence of Federal funds,”  is it considered appropriate to use CESF grant funds to support those justice system agency operations?  Will it be adequate justification to show the precipitous decline in revenues during these months of covid-19 social distancing?
      • Answer:   This same question was recently posed to USDOJ/BJA and they have indicated this would not be an eligible use of funds.  CESF funding may not be used to make up for lost revenue (or for any other purpose other than the statutory purposes, which are to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus”). The question is posed as a supplanting problem, but BJA regards this as a question of allowable uses of funds.  BJA goes on to advise that the statutory language is not broad enough to cover support of general justice system agency operations.
      • Just a bit more about the authorizing language for CESF:  In addition to the language in the specific appropriation for BJA’s CESF program, the general provisions, at section 23004, emphasize that limited use of funds by noting that the funds may be expended “only” for these purposes. Although this provision provides for exceptions to the limited purposes—including some exceptions related to reimbursement of lost revenue - the BJA CESF program is expressly not included in the permissive exception.

Texas Health & Human Services Commission Updates

  • Funding Announcement: HHSC - CARES Act Funding for AAAs
    • The CARES supplemental funds were received by HHSC on April 21, 2020, and will be distributed to the state’s 28 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) based on the existing Intrastate Funding Formula (IFF) approved by the Assistant Secretary for Aging. The funds must be expended on allowable activities as defined by the Older Americans Act and state and local policy.
    • HHSC’s Access and Eligibility Services will be distributing additional information regarding allocations in the coming days.
  • HHSC AES AAA COVID-19 Weekly Webinar and Conference Call
    • Thursday, April 23, 2020, 10:30 AM CDT
      • During this conference call, AES staff will provide additional guidance related to the COVID-19 emergency period and review the updated Frequently Asked Questions document.
    • Please register here for the webinar.

Recent Announcements from Governor Abbott

Information from the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR)

April 21, 2020

State Updates & Resources

  • DIR Virtual Town Hall: COVID-19 Series, Cybersecurity
    • TOMORROW, April 22, 11:00-12:00 CDT |Webinar/Virtual Town Hall| Register
    • This Town Hall is geared towards state and local government organizations, including school districts, junior colleges and public universities.
    • Considerations for cybersecurity and being cyber aware are even more important now as organizations are leveraging options for remote access in response to COVID-19. The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) is a key resource for guidance on how to securely work and learn remotely.
    • DIR will host a virtual presentation where they will provide information on the cybersecurity considerations most urgent for the situation at hand. DIR staff from the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer and the Network Operation Security Center will address your questions specific to cybersecurity and navigating COVID-19 cyber threats.
    • The DIR COVID-19 webpage is regularly updated with cybersecurity and IT information to help you meet the needs of those you serve: www.dir.texas.gov/covid19
  • Upcoming Governor’s Small Business Webinar Series
    • TOMORROW, April 22, 1:00 – 2:00 pm | REGISTER HERE
    • The Governor’s Small Business Webinar Series - North Texas will provide small business owners and entrepreneurs with timely, relevant, actionable information on COVID-19 recovery resources. Topics will include how the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act affects small businesses, as well as workforce-related topics surrounding hiring, benefits, payroll and unemployment. Businesses will also get the chance to connect with local experts and support systems.
    • This event is held in partnership with the Texas Workforce Commission, City of Texarkana – Economic Development, Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and Stephenville Chamber of Commerce.

Federal Updates & Resources

  • The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on America’s Rural and Underserved Communities: A Listening Session for Local Leaders
    • TOMORROW, April 22, 1:00 – 2:00 pm CDT | Register Here
    • Join HUD's Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development (ORHED) as they engage rural community leaders in this open forum on the economic impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on America’s rural and underserved communities. This Peer-to-Peer conference call will offer leaders of rural local/regional/national nonprofits, Indian tribes, state and local governments, colleges/universities, and the private sector an opportunity to share their community-based challenges regarding COVID-19.
  • ACL Announces Nearly $1 Billion in CARES Act Grants to Support Older Adults and People with Disabilities During the COVID-19 Emergency
    • Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is announcing $955 million in grants from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to help meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities as communities implement measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The grants will fund home-delivered meals; care services in the home; respite care and other support to families and caregivers; information about and referral to supports; and more. TARC has reached out to HHSC and additional information will be forthcoming as soon as its available.
      • The CARES Act funding breakdown can be found in the full ACL bulletin here.
      • The majority of these additional funds ($905 million) are being awarded today to states, territories, and tribes for subsequent allocation to local service providers. Grant amounts are determined based on the formulas defined under the program authorizing statutes. The remaining $50 million will be awarded by the close of April.
  • ACL’s COVID-19 Resources: What’s New

April 20, 2020

Update: Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas

An update from the Office of the Governor, Economic Development & Tourism Office is available here. The email contains information about the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas and “Retail-To-Go” Guidance, which is also linked below.

CDC Resources: Helping to Get and Keep America Open

The CDC has created a site to serve as an easily accessible repository of guidelines, tools, and resources from CDC and others for states, tribes, localities, and territories.

USDA Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grants (Funding)

The Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program helps rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. For example, this program can link teachers and medical service providers in one area to students and patients in another.

  • Window 2 application deadlineJuly 13, 2020
    • The agency is providing this additional filing window for those that could not complete applications prior to the Window 1 deadline. This window also makes available up to $25 million received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). While the CARES Act requires these funds be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, the agency believes that all DLT projects already serve that purpose.
  • Who may apply?
    • For both programs, eligible applicants include most entities that provide education or health care through telecommunications, including:
      • Most State and local governmental entities
      • Federally-recognized Tribes
      • Non-profits
      • For-profit businesses
      • Consortia of eligible entities
  • Webinar: Distance Learning & Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program - Window 2 - FY2020

April 17, 2020

Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Establishing Strike Force to Open Texas

Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference where he issued three new Executive Orders to begin the process of reopening the state of Texas while revising hospital capacity and certain social distancing guidelines. Within the orders, select activities and services that pose minimal to no threat of spreading COVID-19 are allowed to reopen using a "Retail-To-Go" model, certain restrictions on surgeries have been loosened, and schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Within these orders, the Governor has established the Strike Force to Open Texas—a team of nationally recognized medical experts and private and public leaders who will advise the Governor on safely and strategically reopening the state of Texas.

  • For more information about the Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas, visit the strike force webpage. 
  • To read the press release, click here.

Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program

  • TARC has shared a second batch of questions received from members regarding the funding opportunity announced Wednesday by the Office of the Governor, Public Safety Office (PSO). We will share these responses when available.

HHSC AAA COVID-19 FAQ Webinar Recording

HHSC Access and Eligibility Services (AES) would like to share yesterday’s Area Agencies on Aging FAQ webinar with stakeholders.

  • Please click here for the webinar.
  • As a reminder, as AES continues to receive updates from our federal partners, the guidance provided during this webinar may change.

Federal Updates and Resources

  • CISA Essential Critical Worker Guidance Version 3 Released
    • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released Version 3.0 of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers list.
      • Version 3.0 includes a reorganization of the section around Healthcare and Public Health and more detail to clarify essential workers; emphasis for Emergency Medical Services workers; and adds lawyers and legal aid workers.
      • Also included is language focused on sustained access and freedom of movement; a reference to the CDC guidance on safety for critical infrastructure workers; and a statement saying sick employees should avoid the workplace and the workforce.
      • In worker categories, all references to “employees” or “contractors” have been changed to “workers.”
      • Other additions include a reference to the USCG Marine Safety Information Bulletin on essential maritime workers; clarified language including vehicle manufacture; and many other small changes to clarify language.
  • FEMA Rumor Control
    • Rumors change with the days during this pandemic. FEMA is working to help clarify and provide ground truth to the public on what is truly happening at the federal level to ensure the safety and health of its citizens. Please send this Rumor Control link to your communities to not only stop the spread of the virus, but to stop the spread of the rumors!

April 16, 2020

Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program, FY2020 PSO Q&A

 TARC e-Learning: Responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster: Price Gouging and Consumer Scams

  • TOMORROW, April 17, 2020 from 10:30 am - 12:00 pm CST
  • When disasters like the Coronavirus (COVID-19) strike, the best of our communities are brought to the forefront as people join together with cooperation, aid, and compassion. Unfortunately, there are criminals who want to take advantage of troubling circumstances like COVID-19 to steal from hard-working Texans through price gouging and scams. The Office of the Texas Attorney General works to protect Texans from such fraud and abuse by accepting complaints, investigating and prosecuting these crimes, and educating Texans how to identify, report, and avoid these scams. Tune into this webinar with Texas Attorney General staff Jennifer Jackson, Chief of the Consumer Protection Division, and Amanda Sanders, Director of Outreach, to learn the latest on price gouging and scams related to COVID-19, what to do if you encounter them, and how to educate others to be on the lookout.
  • Register for the webinar here.

 FEMA Resources for Local Governments

  • FEMA Announces Free Access to GIS Software and Licensed Datasets in Response to COVID-19
    • On March 28, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that through the DHS Enterprise License Agreement with Esri, DHS/FEMA is able to extend that agreement to non-Federal governmental partners during incidents of national significance, which includes COVID-19.
    • State, local, tribal and territorial governmental entities can now obtain free access to Esri software for up to 6 months to help respond to COVID-19.
    • Information
  • FEMA releases Disaster Financial Management Guide
    • All jurisdictions, regardless of size, need to develop and implement disaster financial management considerations and practices to track, calculate and justify the costs of an emergency; support local reimbursement reconciliation; avoid de-obligation of grant funding; and effectively fund and implement recovery projects and priorities. The Disaster Financial Management Guide identifies the capabilities and activities necessary to prepare and successfully implement disaster financial management while maintaining fiscal responsibility throughout response and recovery operations. Fiscal and grant regulations are strict and apply to all jurisdictions, so it is imperative that jurisdictions have robust scalable, flexible and adaptable disaster financial management plans and processes in place pre-disaster for all types of incidents.
    • The document contains concepts, principles and resources that are applicable to the current operational environment and ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
    • Please contact FEMA at NPD-Planning for any questions or support on this guide.

April 15, 2020

*Funding Announcement: Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program, FY2020*

The Office of the Governor, Public Safety Office, Criminal Justice Division has released the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program funding announcement. The RFA is available on eGrants (https://egrants.gov.texas.gov/fundopp.aspx).

PSO is requesting that this information be shared by regions with all your city and county contacts.

If you or your jurisdictions have any questions, please send those to TARC so they may be shared with PSO and the responses will be shared among the network.

  • Please pay attention to “Eligible Organizations” section of the RFA. Final date for application submission 6/15/2020. Applications will be reviewed and finalized as they are received.
  • Jurisdictions may use this funding to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Allowable projects and purchases include, but are not limited to, overtime, equipment, supplies, training, travel expenses, and addressing the medical needs of inmates in local and tribal jails and detention centers.
  • Examples of allowable costs include: