Pinellas County is seeking input from individuals, businesses and local organizations to identify the most pressing community needs that can be met with the county’s portion of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act fund.

Thousands of individuals and small business owners have already applied for emergency financial relief through the Pinellas CARES programs, which will continue through June 30.

The county plans to invest the remainder of its $170 million in CARES funds in programs that equitably support those who need the most help among nearly 1 million residents in Pinellas.

Residents can take a short survey to share their priorities and can also join an online community conversation via Zoom at 5 p.m., Friday, June 12.

• Take the survey: https://www.research.net/r/PinellasCARES

• Register for the online Zoom meeting here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pssyYtGNR3Wjjo1JtmuLxA

The survey will remain open through Sunday, June 14, at 11:59 p.m.

Both sources of input will be considered along with the ability of the county and local partners to effectively use these funds to meet immediate needs related to COVID-19 within the constraints of the federal CARES guidelines.

Examples of potential CARES fund uses:

• Individuals and Families: Provide financial assistance to more families or individuals in need as a result of the impacts of COVID-19.

• Businesses: Provide assistance to more small businesses that suffered economic damages as a result of COVID-19.

• Nonprofits/Organizations: Provide funding to nonprofits and community organizations to purchase supplies and/or expand services directly related to COVID-19.

• Public Health: Fund other investments in public health and safety in response to COVID-19.

Important funding considerations:

• The goal of this money is to bridge the gap – that is, give emergency relief to help people stay afloat until they can get back on their feet. The county wants to hear from a broad spectrum of people who make up the community, so that these funds can be shared equitably.

• The need is great, but funds are limited – public input will help the county prioritize proposals that provide the most help to the most people who have verifiable needs caused by COVID-19.

• Organizations that can use these funds to quickly and effectively offer direct help to people or cover costs from a recent increased demand for service are encouraged to give input.

• While there are many needs in the community not related to COVID-19, CARES funds may only be used to address unforeseen financial needs and risks due to COVID-19.

• All CARES funds must be used by Dec. 30.

Federal guidelines do not allow the CARES funds to pay for:

• Expenses that will be paid by any other federal program or insurance.

• Reimbursement to donors for donated items or services.

• Payroll or benefits expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services and similar employees whose work duties are not substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

• Payment of property taxes or other governmental taxes, fees, and charges.

For more information about allowable uses of CARES funds, visit the U.S. Treasury website at home.treasury.gov, click on the Policy Issues tab and click on the link labeled CARES Act.