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Brevard County is expanding its efforts to provide free personal protective equipment to small businesses, as part of a program funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Brevard Communications Director Don Walker said small businesses will be able to get free supplies from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays at a county distribution warehouse at 7740 Technology Drive in West Melbourne. To schedule a pickup at the county’s warehouse, representatives of businesses can call 321-637-6680.

The personal protective equipment distribution is one of several programs Brevard County is coordinating for small businesses and individuals, funded by the county’s $105.03 million federal allocation from the CARES Act.

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Bags filled with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer await distribution to small businesses during a recent county-organized event at the Cocoa Beach Public Library. Money for the supplies came from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. (Photo: MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY)

The County Commission designated $500,000 for the PPE program.

More: County commissioners OK expansion of CARES Act program to help small businesses add staff

More: County Commission OKs $10M program to help small businesses, nonprofits hurt by coronavirus

No applications are required for the PPE kits, and businesses will not be required to show a business license to receive a kit. Each kit contains 200 disposable masks, 25 reusable cloth masks, two boxes of gloves and two bottles of hand sanitizer.

The county also plans to hold a personal protection equipment distribution event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Catherine Schweinsberg Rood Central Library, 308 Forrest Ave. in Cocoa.

Among other programs the county has in place for small businesses and nonprofits are:

  • Small-business grants: $10 million for a Small Business and Nonprofit Economic Relief Program that offers grants of up to $10,000 apiece to small businesses and nonprofit organization that meet specific requirements.

They must be located in Brevard, have 50 or fewer employees, and be negatively impacted financially by COVID-19.

For more information on that program, call 321-350-9194 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

  • Payroll subsidy: $2.25 million for a Workforce Recovery Program offered in partnership with  CareerSource Brevard to assist small businesses and nonprofit organizations that that had to lay off or furlough employees due to the impact of the COVID-19. The program provides subsidies to small businesses and nonprofits for the hiring of one employee apiece for up to 16 weeks.

Among programs the county has in place to help individuals negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic are:

  • Housing and utility assistance: $4.4 million for a rental and mortgage assistance program, and utility and security deposit program.

Those eligible must be a resident of Brevard County; at or below 140% of area median income; and able to demonstrate assistance is required as a result of direct impacts from coronavirus. To qualify, applicants must be able to submit documents supporting income, need and other assistance, including income verification.

Applications for assistance are available online at these locations: www.brevardfl.gov/HumanServices/Announcements, and www.brevardfl.gov (look in the blue box at the top of the page for COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program). Paper application forms will be available at Brevard County libraries and on county buses.

  • Food assistance: $4 million for a food stability program that offers expansion of traditional food pantries and food banks, along with pop-up food pantries; provision of weekend meals to children; and access to farmers’ markets for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Brevard County Housing and Human Services Director Ian Golden said there will be two opportunities in the coming week at farmers’ markets for food assistance for residents financially impacted by COVID-19. 

The University of Florida/Brevard Extension Service is hosting the farmers’ markets, at which individuals can obtain $50 in “CARES Act dollars,” in the form of tokens, for the purchase of fruits, vegetables, honey, coffee, eggs, herbs and other unprocessed items that are available. 

The markets will be held at these locations: 

  • From 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, at Wickham Park, 2500 Parkway Drive, Melbourne.
  • From 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, at the Welcome Center, 419 S. Hopkins Ave., Titusville. This is a pop-up farmers’ market held in conjunction with the Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce and the city of Titusville. 

The markets are open to all county residents. Those who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 will be eligible for the CARES Act tokens upon completion of a self-declaration form that will be available on site. A photo identification will be required, and must have the address that matches the address as that on the self-declaration form.

Also, at both sites, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will be available.

Details on all the county CARES Act programs are available at http://www.brevardfl.gov/BrevardCARES

More: Brevard County COVID-19 update: PPE available from county, hurricanes and more

During a Facebook Live event county officials held Thursday to update residents on the programs, Brevard County Public Safety Director Matthew Wallace assured the public that “we will make it together, no doubt,” through the pandemic.

“We will get through this. We will get through this together. And we will get through it as a team,” Wallace said. “As we continue to share information and do the right things at the right time, we will no doubt be successful. We will continue to be strong. We will continue to work together as a county and as a community.”

Earlier this month, nearly 500 small businesses that applied for county-issued personal protective equipment kits received a total of 935 kits. The county still has more than 1,000 kits available for distribution.

The county has opted to reach out to other small businesses that may not have been aware of the program or missed the application deadline, and to make the additional kits available.

For more information, email [email protected] or call 321-637-6680.

Dave Berman is government editor at FLORIDA TODAY.  

Contact Berman at 321-242-3649 or [email protected] Twitter: @bydaveberman

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