Howard County Times
Howard County

Howard County to distribute $500,000 in CARES Act funding to families for energy assistance

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced Monday that half a million dollars of CARES Act funding will go to nearly 1,500 county families to pay for energy assistance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Community Action Council of Howard County grants will distribute the $500,000 of federal funding to Howard County families who applied for electric or oil energy assistance.


“This virus has devastated many households, who have lost income and are trying to make ends meet to keep the heat on, feed their families and pay their rent,” Ball said in a county news release. “This $500,000 will support nearly 1,500 families in Howard County that need the extra support right now.”

The $500,000 CARES Act grant is in addition to the $1.35 million given to the Community Action Council earlier this year, which included funds for rental assistance, the county’s food bank and nonprofit organizations.


In a normal year, more than 4,000 Howard County residents apply to the council for money to pay for their energy bills, according to the release, with the council handing out between $2.5 million and $3 million to eligible applicants. Eligibility is based on guidelines from the State of Maryland Office of Home Energy Programs.

“The hardship of paying bills is widespread in our community, from low-income households all the way to upper-middle-class families,” said Bita Dayoff, president of the council. “... This relief fund will help families keep their lights on and stay warm over the winter months.”

The energy assistance funding came out of the $56.8 million in CARES Act funding Howard received from the state, with most of the money going toward health expenses but some funds also going to local businesses, nonprofits, education and child care.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act was signed into law on March 27 to support health-related costs and assist with salaries for emergency management and services dedicated to the pandemic. That includes the acquisition and distribution of supplies, expenses for public safety measures, communications and enforcement, and disinfection of public areas.

“We are laser-focused on expending all of our CARES [Act] funding by our [Dec. 30] deadline at the end of this month and ensuring that our most vulnerable residents do not fall through the cracks this winter as we continue to combat COVID-19 in our community,” Ball said.

Those in need of energy assistance can go to the Community Action Council website at to apply.