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Hillsborough Gets $256 Million For Coronavirus Relief, Three More Testing Sites Open

A testing supply tent set up outside Raymond James Stadium
Hillsborough County
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Hillsborough County has been notified it will receive $256 million from the federal government though the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The county also plans to open on Wednesday three more coronavirus testing sites: at Lee Davis Community Center, South Shore Community Centerand Plant City Community Center.

The three new sites will offer drive-through testing, but a vehicle is not required as long as the resident has been pre-screened and meet testing guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and the Florida Department of Health.

Those locations:

  • Lee Davis Community Resource Center, 3402 N. 22nd St. in Tampa
  • Plant City Community Resource Center, 307 N. Michigan Ave. in Plant City
  • SouthShore Community Resource Center, 201 14th Ave. SE in Ruskin

They also have to be pre-registered through the Hillsborough County Customer Service Center at 813-272-5900.

County Administration Mike Merrill told members of the Hillsborough Emergency Policy Group there should be two or three more sources of funding expected to come from Congress. One bill coursing through Capitol Hill would give the county another $110 million.

"The funding will allow the county to provide direct support countywide - including in the cities - to qualifying residents for rent, food, utility payments and to help support the business recovery efforts," said Merrill.

He said it will be up to County Commissioners to decide where to spend the money. It has to be spent on helping those who lost their jobs or can't pay their rent because of the coronavirus.

They've also allocated $15 million in federal aid to their social services departments, to provide help to people in need and the homeless. About $4 million of that will go to Metropolitan Ministries to bolster help for families facing homelessness.

Anyone who qualifies for assistance can reach out to the county's social service center  for help beginning Monday, April 27 at the county's website

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state has received more than $4.1 billion in federal relief under the CARES Act to aid the state in responding to and recovering from COVID-19.

The more than $2 trillion economic relief package was passed by Congress with overwhelming  support and signed into law by President Trump on March 27th. It includes $150 billion in payments to state and local governments.

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Steve Newborn is WUSF's assistant news director as well as a reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.