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BJA Empowers First Responders to Fight COVID-19

Funding Local Responses to a Global Emergency

In the face of an invisible enemy, public safety takes on a whole new significance. As long as COVID-19 is circulating in American communities, no one is completely safe. That is why the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is committed to helping our nation’s first responders fight this global pandemic by providing vital funding for equipment, hiring, and supplies.

Under the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program, BJA is making $850 million in emergency grants available to eligible state, local, and tribal governments. The funding was authorized by the recent stimulus legislation signed by President Trump. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis through May 29, 2020, and BJA is acting quickly to distribute funds. BJA is a component of the Office of Justice Programs in the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Public safety professionals across the country are working tirelessly to make us all safer in the face of this pandemic,” said BJA Acting Director Michael Costigan. “They are transporting the sick and protecting society’s most vulnerable populations. BJA is extremely proud that we can offer them emergency funding to help meet their immediate needs.”

Funds awarded under the new program must be utilized to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Potential uses include hiring personnel, paying overtime, purchasing protective equipment, distributing resources to hard-hit areas, and addressing inmates’ medical needs. States, U.S. Territories, the District of Columbia, units of local government, and federally recognized tribal governments that were identified as eligible for funding under the Fiscal Year 2019 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program are eligible to apply for this new program.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed the rhythms and the realities of our daily lives. The potent virus has forced us to isolate, to cover our faces and shield our eyes—to hide and to hope. But for the numerous heroes who staff our nation’s public safety systems, hiding is not an option. As these men and women bravely face a formidable enemy, BJA is committed to providing critical funding to keep them safe on the job—while they keep us safe at home.

Date Created: April 28, 2020