How Cities Can Help Bring COVID-19 Financial Relief to Residents

Please note the IRS has extended the date for non-filers to use their tool and claim the credit to November 21, 2020.

The National League of Cities has highlighted ways that municipalities can lift up the awareness of the CARES Act funding for black communities and overall, but the data shows more work needs to be done. Are your residents among the estimated twelve million people in the United States who did not receive their stimulus monies?

According to the Center for Budget and Policies Priorities, over 12 million eligible residents are missing out on crucial funds provided through the CARES Act that could help pay rent or purchase food. Eligible residents have until November 21 to enter the required information into the IRS website to receive the funding.

This means cities need to get the word out to residents to act fast!

Cities, like Durham, North Carolina, understand the value in ensuring that all eligible residents receive funding that could help those who are unemployed keep the roof over their heads, water running, and food on the table. These funds similar to tax refunds can help stimulate your local economy too, providing security to families and preserving employment.

Under the leadership of Mayor Steve Schewel, the City of Durham quickly created an online platform to help eligible residents navigate the process of receiving the payment and avoid pitfalls along the way.

“Through our strategic outreach efforts to vulnerable populations, we can ensure that every Durham resident can access resources to improve their financial stability during this crisis and beyond,” Mayor Schewel said. “Our investment in helping residents receive the stimulus payment both supports families and, in turn, our local economy so I encourage other city leaders to get the word out!”

Many residents eligible for the economic impact payments, more widely known as “stimulus payments”, did not automatically receive the funds earlier this year. For many in this group, they do not meet the minimum income required to file federal taxes and therefore the IRS does not have their address to send a debit card, check or deposit to a bank.
City leaders looking to increase stimulus payments in their community should focus on vulnerable or hidden populations. For example, the City of Durham specifically focused on citizens released from incarceration first and will then prioritize partnering with providers working with those who are experiencing homelessness. The partnerships created as a result of this effort can leverage ongoing outreach efforts to support people with Census completion or those experiencing food insecurity.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released a guide for cities to adapt to their own community to help get the word out. Join NLC on September 3rd at 1 pm ET for an informational webinar with the City of Durham to learn more.

About the Author

Courtney Coffin

Courtney Coffin is the Senior Specialist for Economic Opportunity and Financial Empowerment in the NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.