The Polk County Board of County Commissioners has debuted a new program to assist businesses and residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

The website offers links and information on how small businesses and residents in Polk County can apply for part of the $126 million the county received as part of the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant.

Funding will be allocated into four categories to provide as much assistance as possible to those affected by the coronavirus:

  • $40 million to help small businesses with costs to remain open or reopen. Assistance ranges from $1,000 to those who are self-employed to $5,000 for those with 10-25 employees. Business owners may also apply for a personal assistance grant. Requirements for the grant can be found at the website.
  • $30 million for health and human service needs to help people who were laid off or furloughed pay for rent, mortgage and utilities, up to $2,000. Household income cannot exceed $75,000 and applicants must not have received other assistance for such costs. However, those who are receiving unemployment may apply. Only one application per household. 
  • $30 million for community health care.
  • $26 million for governmental costs and services.

“The CFDC is proud to work on this project with Polk County government to assist small businesses and local residents,” said CFDC Chairman Jake Polumbo, Founding Partner of the small business Two Blue Aces, LLC. “Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, and keeping them open or helping them reopen is a critical component to bringing our economy back to life.”

To Apply

Residents and small businesses can review all requirements and apply online on the Polk County website beginning Tuesday, May 19. Applying early is best as the process will end when the money runs out, no later than Dec. 30, 2020.

Documentation is required to receive any type of assistance. The money does not have to be paid back, but may be taxable.

To apply online, residents and business owners will need to fill out a form and attach the required documents, which range from copies of a Florida driver’s licenses and utility bills for residents to employer ID numbers and estimated monthly costs for businesses.

Residents and businesses that do not have a printer/scanner to provide documentation may take a photograph of the documents and then upload it to their application. Those who do not have a computer can use computers at their local library or community resource centers in Eloise, Lake Wales, Medulla, Wabash (Lakeland) and Florence Villa (Winter Haven). 

The address to mail the printed application with supporting documentation is the following:

Polk County Board of County Commissioners
Attn: Budget Office
330 West Church Street
Drawer CA02
Bartow, FL 33831

A call center will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays to assist those who need help. The phone number is (863) 298-7500.

Checks will take up to two weeks to arrive after approval. Residents and businesses may check the status of their applications by logging in to the website. Those who are denied because of missing information may reapply.

More Information

The Polk CARES 2020 website also provides the latest coronavirus statistics as well as links to additional resources, such as the CFDC, CareerSourcePolk and the Florida Small Business Development Center.

Polk County also provides links to the status of school closures, parks and recreation information, and what county buildings are open/closed and what rules should be followed, such as social distancing and wearing face masks. 

The site also provides information on the governor’s orders and state board closings.

Click here for more information and frequently asked questions.