General Questions

When can I apply for these programs?

The LeeCares programs will begin accepting applications at 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 26 2020. You can apply online by visiting this webpage or call (239) 533-CARE for assistance

Where did this funding come from?

These funds come from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Congress designated a portion of funds to go to local governments to meet urgent financial needs within communities.

Can I apply for more than one of the programs?

You may apply to all the programs for which you meet the eligibility criteria.

How long is the application review process?

Businesses can expect to receive grant funds after payment processing and due diligence has been completed.

When will assistance be distributed?

It may take a few weeks from the date of application submission until eligible business owners receive the approved funding.

If my application is denied, can I reapply?

If your application is denied and you met all eligibility criteria, it is most likely your application is not complete and you will be notified to submit the information required for completion.

Human Services Grant Program Questions

What is the Lee CARES Human Services Grant?

The Lee CARES Human Services Grant program provides assistance of between $5,000 and $50,000 to nonprofit organizations that provide direct human services in Lee County.

What type of organizations are eligible?

Applicants must currently be registered as a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) organization registered with the IRS / U.S. Department of Treasury and the State of Florida.

What types of expenses are reimbursed?

Increased or unbudgeted expenses associated with Covid-19 during the delivery of direct human service program(s) to Lee County residents.

When will the application be available?

Beginning on September 21, 2020, eligible organizations can apply for assistance by completing a brief questionnaire form and attaching verifying documentation online through the Lee CARES Portal.

What types of Human Service organizations are eligible?

Afterschool/Tutoring programs, Behavioral Health, Counseling/Grief Services, Domestic Violence/Human Trafficking, Emergency Shelter, Food Services/Meal Services, Homeless Services, Housing Assistance, Job Training/Placement, Medical, Persons with Disability Services, Senior Services, Transitional Living, Youth Services and or Veterans Services.

When does the organization have to begin providing direct human services to Lee County residents?

Applicants must have been providing direct human services to Lee County residents since the onset of COVID-19 until the present day.

What does the grant provide?

Eligible organizations may receive up to $50,000 in assistance for the reimbursement of expenses directly related to COVID-19. Expenses covered/reimbursed through an alternative funding source received (or expected to be received) by the applicant organization are not eligible.

When do the eligible expenses need to have occurred?

Expenses must have occurred or are expected to occur from March 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020

What are allowable expenditure requirements?

Programmatic enhancements (i.e. legal services, temporary shelter, computer and technology equipment.
Administrative, operation and safety expenses (i.e. purchase and/or reimbursement of PPE, personal costs, facility retrofit expenditures.
Program Costs (i.e. rental assistance, utility assistance, foreclosure-eviction assistance, job training, resume assistance and job placement assistance).

When will funds be distributed?

Upon receipt of an application for the Human Services Grant Program, Lee County’s Offices of Economic Development and Human, and Veteran Services will review to determine any award. Grants will be paid via direct deposit to authorized accounts.

How do I register for a Lee County Business Tax Receipt and/or an Active Sunbiz?

You can apply for a Lee County Business Tax Receipt here
You can register your organization through Sunbiz.org by clicking here
If you have questions regarding the Lee CARES Online Portal or the Human Services Grant you can email your questions to LeeCaresGrants@leegov.com or call (239) 533-9190 for assistance

Utilities Assistance Program Questions

The address on my driver’s license does not match the address on my utility bill, do I still qualify?

Yes, as long as you can provide a lease, deed, or some other legal proof that you live in the property that is listed as the service address on your utility bill.

Is there an income limit for this program?

No, but you must provide proof that you or someone in your household has lost jobs, been furloughed or experienced a reduction of income after March 1, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can I get help with bills other than water or electricity?

No, only water or electric utilities are eligible.

Do my bills have to be past due?

No, past due and current bills are eligible.

Can I get more help in November and December if I got help in October?

There will be three application windows for the utilities assistance program

  • October 19th through 30th
  • November 2 through 27th
  • November 30th through December 11th
You may be eligible for up to $1,000 per household for each round of assistance if you continue to experience adverse financial impacts from COVID-19.

How often can I receive assistance?

Assistance may only be received one-time per household (one time for each round).

How will I receive my assistance?

Payments for assistance will be made directly to the utility company.

Is funding first-come, first-serve?

Funding is allocated to those who meet the eligibility criteria and submit completed documents for approval. Financial assistance will be given to qualified applicants until relief funds are exhausted.

What determines the amount of assistance I can receive?

The maximum assistance per household for any round of utility assistance is the balance owed on the utility bills or $1,000, whichever is less.

If I am approved for assistance, will you notify the utility company that payment is coming?

Yes, we will issue a commitment to the utility company to let them know, but service could still lapse (you will need to consult with your utility company).

Business Rehire Program Questions

What is the Lee CARES Small Business Rehire Grant?

Provides emergency financial support through the Lee CARES Business Assistance Program for Job Creation (Business Rehire) Grant Program for qualified businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What does the grant provide?

This program provides $5,000 - $32,000 in grant funding, pending business size, wages and FTEs, to local businesses for rehiring a full-time position equivalent (FTE) which was included in the payroll as of March 1, 2020 and is re-established and filled July 6th or afterwards.

What are the grant terms?
  • Business Employee Size
    • 5 or Less - Eligible for up to 2 FTE Grants
    • 6-10 - Eligible for up to 4 FTE Grants
    • 11 & Over - Eligible for more than 4 FTE Grants to be determined during review.
  • Hourly Wage
    • $10.00 -$15.00 - Grant Amount $5,000 per FTE
    • $15.01 - $20.00 - Grant Amount $6,500 per FTE
    • $20.01 & Over - Grant Amount $8,000 per FTE
  • 40% of each job grant may be accessed once the FTE position is back on the payroll on July 6th or afterwards. The other 60% of each job grant may be accessed once the FTE position has been retained for 60 days
If I rehire/hire part-time employees, will my business be eligible?

Your business is eligible if you rehire/hire two part-time jobs both with a minimum of 20 hours a week per part-time employee, which will be equivalent to ONE full-time employee (FTE)

Note: FTE are W-2 only. Those rehired/hired CANNOT include the business owner, investor or immediate family members.

Is my business eligible if I rehired/hired employees before July 6th, 2020?

No, all employees must be rehired/hired on or after July 6, 2020

Are there wage requirements for the rehired/hired positions?

Yes, for each position, the employee must be receiving a minimum of $10.00/hour with the exception of waitstaff/tipped employees

Can I hire a new employee if the past employee is no longer available?

Yes, a new employee may fill that existing position.

What if my business was not operating before January 1, 2020?

Unfortunately, if your business was not operating prior to the required date, your business is not eligible for this grant. Other funding programs may be available (see below).

Can non-Lee County business owners apply?

No, the owner must reside in Lee County.

Am I eligible if my business has more than 250 employees?

No, businesses must have 250 or fewer full-time, W-2 employees (employees working 35 hours per week or 140 hours per month)

What if our business does not have a current Business Tax Receipt issued by Lee County?

You can visit the Lee County Tax Collector website to fill out an application.

Are home-based businesses eligible?

Yes, a business may be home-based or located in an owned or leased commercial space.

Can my business apply if we have received PPP funds?

All businesses must certify if they have received PPP funds at the time of application submittal. The PPP must be EXPIRED on or after the July 6th date.

Are publicly traded businesses eligible?

No, at this time we are not accepting any businesses that are publicly traded companies.

I own more than one business under the same name, are all locations eligible?

No, companies with common ownership and/or common DBA will be treated as a single business.

What are considered ineligible businesses?

Ineligible businesses include Gambling Institutions, Multi-Level Marketing Organizations, Real Estate Investment Firms (REITS), and Adult Entertainment

What can I use these funds to pay for?

Working capital expenses (e.g. rent, utilities, payroll, insurance, inventory); business related professional services (e.g. accounting, marketing, software, legal assistance); employee training.

What can these funds NOT be used for?

Refinance existing debt, down payment for other financing, cannot be used to pay the owner.

When will assistance be distributed?

It may take a few weeks from the date of the application submission until eligible business owners receive the approved funding.

If my application is denied, can I reapply?

If your application is denied and you met all eligibility criteria, you will be able to reapply. It is likely your application is not complete and you will be notified in a denial email of those deficiencies.

What if I am not eligible for this grant? Are there other funding programs available?

Regardless of whether a business is, or is not eligible for this program, it may still qualify for other funding programs. Visit www.leegov.com/covid19 for a list of federal and state programs assisting businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

PPE for Small Businesses Program Questions

What is the purpose of the Lee CARES PPE for Small Businesses Program?

The purpose of the Lee CARES PPE program is to support small businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 pandemic so they may re-open or re-launch as safely as possible and follow CDC guidance. 

How do I register to pick up PPE for my small business?

You do not need to pre-register for PPE assistance.

Who is eligible for the Lee CARES PPE for Small Businesses program?

PPE supply kits will be supplied to any businesses who's owner is a resident of Lee County

What do I get in the PPE Kit?  

PPE kits will be divided into two sizes: one for businesses with 1-10 employees and one for businesses with 11-25 employees.  Each kit will have a predetermined quantity of surgical masks, hand sanitizer, and other PPE while supplies last. 

Childcare Assistance Program Questions

How do I apply for this assistance?

Households can apply for childcare assistance waivers through a United Way Gold-Seal childcare provider. Contact your childcare provider to inquire about assistance options including the United Way vouchers. Find a participating childcare provider

Who is eligible for childcare assistance?

Households with income that has been impacted by Governor DeSantis’ Safer at Home Act and childcare is a necessary expense to return to work.

Which childcare programs are included in the assistance program?

United Way's network of Gold Seal providers who offer quality childcare programming. The Gold Seal Quality Care program designation is available to providers who gain accreditation for a higher level of care and supervision provided to children.