SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A piece of the $2.2 trillion economic relief package passed back in March will soon be distributed in Savannah.

The City is has partnered with United Way of the Coastal Empire and the Savannah Small Business Assistance Corporation (SBAC) to distribute $5.3 million of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to residents and businesses in the Hostess City.

“We’re excited about the availability of these funds to help the people in our community who have been struggling financially as a result of COVID-19,” said Mayor Van Johnson. “We appreciate United Way and the SBAC helping us get these funds directly to the people who need them most.”

United Way will distribute $3.3 million to help Savannah residents maintain stable, safe housing and SBAC will distribute $2 million to help small businesses recover losses due to COVID-19.

“We built a fund called the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund and this community very generously contributed to that fund. It allowed us to be build a system to help people with rent, mortgage and utilities,” United Way of Coastal Georgia President and CEO, Brynn Grant said.

“Hopefully with this CARES Act money we’ll be able to spread a whole lot of Savannah love to help people get back to where they need to be,” Johnson said.

Housing help

The goal of the City of Savannah CARES Act Fund at United Way is to pay past-due mortgage, rent or utility balances accrued from March through August 2020 due to loss of income directly related to the pandemic.

There are no household income limits or requirements, but individuals must meet the following criteria to qualify to apply:

  • Must be a resident of the City of Savannah
  • Must be able to provide proof of loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic (from March 1-to Aug. 30)
  • Must be able to provide verification of current household income (receiving unemployment benefits, returned to work, new employment, SSI and SSDI, child support and alimony where applicable)
  • Must be able to provide verification of past-due rent/mortgage/utilities (copy of the most recent bill, copy of the mortgage statement, copy of the lease or statement from the property management company)
  • Must provide identification of all members in the household

For more information or to talk with a specialist, call 211 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. To apply online, visit here.

Only City of Savannah residents are eligible to receive funding.

Any money received does not have to be paid back.

Small business help

The $2 million provided in CARES Act funding will allow the SBAC to continue offering recovery loans and forgive previously issued emergency loans, essentially turning them into grants. 

For more information about loan forgiveness or to apply for a recovery loan, businesses can call 912-232-4700.

Interested businesses may apply online beginning Tuesday, Aug. 18, at

Businesses must be located in the Savannah city limits to be eligible for these funds.