Frequently Asked Questions
(And Answers)

These FAQs are meant to answer general questions for consumers and industry stakeholders who are directly impacted by COVID-19.

New York Times: “First-time borrowers are eligible for 2.5 times their average monthly payroll cost, up to $10 million. (For sole proprietors, the calculation is different. They can borrow 2.5 times the monthly profit they reported on their 2019 Schedule C tax form.)

Loans for second-time borrowers are capped at $2 million. Food services and lodging businesses, such as restaurants and hotels, can get loans of 3.5 times their average monthly payroll, but the $2 million cap still applies.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “As they were last year, the loans are issued by banks and other lenders. But some lenders got a head start.

Most borrowers can apply starting Jan. 19 at what are expected to be thousands of participating lenders, from major banks like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo to fintechs like PayPal and Square.

A small group of community lenders were able to start taking applications a few days early. They include Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions and Certified Development Companies — specially designated lenders that focus on underserved populations, including Black- and other minority-owned businesses.

Banks and credit unions with $1 billion or less in assets can start taking applications on Jan. 15.

The deadline to apply is March 31.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “The new funding is available to both first-time applicants and returning borrowers.

For first-time applicants, most of the original rules apply. A company or nonprofit organization must generally have 500 or fewer workers, although companies in some industries can qualify with more employees. The applicants also must certify that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary” to support their continuing operations.

More groups are now eligible because of the recent stimulus bill, including nonprofit housing cooperatives, newspapers, broadcasters and local chambers of commerce.

Applicants must have been in operation on Feb. 15, 2020, to qualify. Self-employed business owners, including independent contractors, are also eligible for loans, but a rule imposed by the Small Business Administration requires sole proprietorships to have shown a profit on their 2019 tax return to qualify.

The rules are more strict for those seeking a second loan.

Larger businesses are not eligible: Second-loan applicants must have 300 or fewer workers. (Publicly traded companies, political lobbyists and members of Congress are barred from receiving a second loan.)

They also have to show a certain amount of hardship: a 25 percent drop in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. They must also show that they used all of the money from the first loan in allowable ways.”

Source | New York Times

HUD: “HUD posted the Extension of Period of Availability for CARES Act Supplemental Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Funds, Guidance on CARES Act Financial Reporting Requirements (FDS and Quarterly Reporting), and Other CARES Act Provisions PIH Notice on September 14, 2020. This Notice provides information on the following topics related to implementation of CARES Act (Public Law 116-136) and related Supplemental Public Housing Operating Funds, Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Mainstream Administrative Fees, Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) funding, and Moderate Rehabilitation Program HAP funding. See PIH Notice 2020-24.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Yes, those can be eligible expenses for preventing and responding to COVID-19, per PIH Notice 2020-07.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “For the HCV Program, in the recently published PIH Notice 2020-18, HUD has expanded the use of CARES Act HCV Administrative Fees to include as an eligible use of these funds: 

Costs to facilitate and coordinate with local schools and local governments receiving funds from the U.S. Department of Education for the education of students in the program. 

Costs for the technological needs of program participants with school aged children being homeschooled as a result of the pandemic that are not and will not be provided through other Federal, state, or local governments. 

For the public housing program, as provided in PIH Notice 2020-07, the PHA can use federal funds authorized under the CARES Act to facilitate and coordinate with local schools and local governments receiving funds from the Department of Education for the education of students in public housing households including internet connection infrastructure and tablets or other low- cost computers for students.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “If a resident has zero income but did not report the decrease of income in a timely manner due to COVID-19, HUD strongly encourages PHAs to consider extenuating circumstances in their interim reexamination policy to allow for retroactive adjustments. This PHA policy may reduce the potential hardship on families and eliminate or significantly reduce the amount a family may owe for back rent. See FAQ OC16 for further detail. 

PHAs have discretion to establish local policies for repayment agreements (e.g., the term of the monthly payment amount and length of agreements), including instances where a resident’s income may become zero. When setting the monthly repayment amount, PIH Notice-2018-18 recommends that the monthly retroactive rent payment plus the amount of rent the tenant pays at the time the agreement is executed should be affordable and not exceed 40 percent of the family’s monthly adjusted income. Per this Notice, the PHA has discretion to establish a different threshold in their policy. For example, if a family’s income decreased to zero income, the PHA would still execute a repayment agreement for both parties agreeing to the retroactive rent amount owed, but the PHA could (1) suspend the agreement for a set period of time, (2) schedule quarterly check-ins with the family to reevaluate circumstances, or (3) wait until the family reports an increase in income. The PHA could also execute a repayment agreement for an amount that does not exceed the PHA’s minimum rent or an amount that is determined affordable to the family per the 24 CFR Part 5. 

PHAs are reminded that the terms of the agreement may be renegotiated and the monthly payment amount for existing repayment agreements can be restructured if there are changes (decrease or increase) in the family’s income.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “As described in PIH Notice 2020-07, supplemental Operating Funds may be used to pay for regular operations of the public housing program. They can cover unexpected increases in operating costs or cover normal operating costs, whether or not there are unplanned reductions in revenues related to increased unemployment. 

For residents that experience a loss in income, the PHA is required to process requests for interim reexaminations commensurate with such lost income; therefore, PHAs should not have significant Tenant Accounts Receivable due to COVID-19. However, residents are still responsible for all rent charges. If residents still do not pay their rent, PHAs can set up repayment agreements to catch up on unpaid rent. The CARES Act eviction moratorium prohibited pursuing evictions or assessing fees for unpaid rent until July 24, 2020. 

Write-offs of tenant account receivables as bad debt is a separate issue. The allowance method is the prevailing method for writing off receivables pursuant to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Using the allowance method, as long as there is still a possibility that a receivable could be collected, it would remain on the Balance Sheet. PHAs would normally write off the receivable only when the tenant moved and was no longer reachable.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “HUD is working on a CARES Act web portal that will be used for the required quarterly reporting to HUD based on Section 15011. Further guidance is in PIH Notice 2020-24. 

As described in PIH Notice 2020-07 and PIH Notice 2020-08 (later superseded by PIH Notice 2020-18), the CARES Act requires that recipients of $150,000 or more of CARES Act funding submit certain information regarding the use of CARES Act funds. Additional information is in PIH Notice 2020-24. 

This reporting is required for “covered recipients,” defined as any entity that receives covered funds that amount to more than $150,000. PHAs that receive CARES Act funds that amount to more than $150,000 will be subject to this additional reporting requirement based on the total amounts awarded, not each individual grant award. 

As outlined in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memorandum, M-20-21, existing reporting requirements are anticipated to meet the requirements of Section 15011, but the content and format for this reporting is still under development and will need to be reviewed against current program practices. The Department will work in coordination with OMB to ensure that this requirement can be fulfilled by recipients of CARES Act funding in a manner that utilizes to the greatest extent possible existing reporting streams, providing the necessary transparency and accountability with minimal additional burden.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “While this software would help the PHA maintain social distance, which prevents transmission of COVID-19, it also improves the operational efficiency of the Public Housing and HCV management and operations. As such, it is a normal Operating Fund and HCV Administrative fee expense, and eligible for CARES Act funds. See PIH Notice 2020-07 for public housing and PIH Notice 2020-18 for HCV Administrative fees.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Yes, as long as the funds are used by the applicable expiration dates. For public housing, funds must be expended by December 31, 2021 as described in PIH Notice 2020-24. For HCV Administrative fees, PIH Notice 2020-18 extends the period of availability for the CARES Act HCV Administrative fees through June 30 , 2021; and the CARES Act HAP funding for per unit cost (PUC) increases is likewise available through June 30 , 2021. The period of availability for supplemental HAP funding for shortfalls is December 31 , 2020, and for funds awarded for per unit cost increases is June 30 , 2021. This option is available for all PHAs, not just small PHAs. 

Source | HUD

HUD: “There is no requirement that PHAs target those who are directly affected by COVID-19. The funding is intended to support new Mainstream vouchers for eligible families— those that include a non-elderly person with a disability. PHAs will use their regular waiting list for these additional Mainstream vouchers just as PHAs do with their existing Mainstream vouchers. PHAs may add or modify preferences based on the needs in their community but it is not required. 

Source | HUD

BDO: “Even during times of significant uncertainty, nonprofit organizations must keep their mission as the North Star guiding their response. Many organizations may face interruptions to programming as a result of reduced travel and social distancing—but that doesn’t mean furthering your mission should take a backseat.

Organizations must be prepared for an extended crisis environment as a pandemic fuels significant threats including cyberattacks, fraud, regulatory changes, supply chain disruptions and bankruptcies. Organizations need to take a step back and put together a crisis management team and a response program that includes executive leaders, investment advisors and communications and program staff. This team should assess how to maintain as much normalcy as possible while limiting exposure risks to both their own employees and the constituencies they serve. With cashflows for many nonprofits significantly disrupted, liquidity and sustainability must also be a driving force of decision-making. Nonprofits should also view the crisis as a catalyst for needed change, as the sense of urgency, cooperation, need for innovation and decisiveness that emerges in crisis can also help secure viability for the organization. As organizations look to the future, they should apply lessons learned and update their risk program.”


Source | BDO

HUD: “Formula and Competitive grantees may use a number of methods to immediately fund COVID-19 activities that can be reimbursed and reconciled once the CARES Act funds are received. Some options include: 

Leveraged Non-Federal funds: grantees may use general funds or other non-HOPWA resources to pay for COVID-19 activities they are carrying out now that they intend to cover with their CARES Act award, once received 

Current HOPWA funds/awards: grantees may use any line item available in their current awards to pay for COVID-19 activities they are carrying out now that they intend to cover with the CARES Act award, once received”


Source | HUD

HUD: “Competitive-HOPWA grantees may serve any HOPWA-eligible clients in their area and are not limited to current clients. Grantees must work closely with the Formula HOPWA grantees and other programs in their area to coordinate program responses and to avoid any duplication of services.”

Source | HUD

HUD: Yes, you may spend the CARES Act funds for activities that are outside of the normal scope of the Permanent Supportive Housing categories included in your contracts. You should: 

Continue to carry out the normal activities outlined in your HOPWA contract
Plan and budget for the use of supplemental CARES Act funds you will receive – may be used for any HOPWA-eligible activity or specific activities described in the CARES Act
Follow the HUD process to complete forms and provide activity descriptions for use of the CARES Act money

Source | HUD

BerryDunn: “While the House and Senate have reacted quickly to bring needed relief to individuals and businesses across the country, the reality for most is that more will need to be done to stabilize. Operationally, obvious responses in the short term should be to eliminate all nonessential purchasing and maximize the billing and collection functions in accounts receivable. Another option is to utilize or increase an existing line of credit, or establish a new line of credit, to alleviate short term cash flow shortfalls. Organizations with investment portfolios can consider the prudence of increasing the spending draw on those funds. Rather than making a few drastic changes, organizations should take a multi-faceted approach to reduce the strain on cash flow while protecting the long term sustainability of the mission.”

Source | BerryDunn

BerryDunn: “Many nonprofits with endowments are considering ways to balance an increased reliance on their investment portfolios with the responsibility to protect and preserve the spending power of donor-restricted gifts. Some things to think about include the existence (or absence) of true restrictions, spending variations under the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) applicable in your state, borrowing from an endowment, or requesting from the donor the release of restrictions. All need to be balanced with the intended duration and preservation of the endowment fund.” 

Source | BerryDunn

Council of Nonprofits: “Even as external indicators show an eagerness by some to reopen everything, we all need to do what is right, not what may be popular in the moment. Simple logic and logistics may dictate the need to take more time. First and foremost, flexibility will need to be at the center of these decisions and processes.

For both safety and peace of mind of those on-site, each organization should have adequate quantities of hand sanitizer, cleaning/disinfecting supplies, and personal protective equipment for your staff. With so much demand for these products right now, it may be difficult to acquire what you need early on.

Keep in mind that everyone will have different realities outside of the office. Access to child care will not be back to normal right away, so some staff may continue to require flexible work schedules.

Similarly, access to transportation to and from work sites may be challenging for some employees, as physical distancing rules may restrict carpooling arrangements that existed pre-COVID-19. Also, public transportation may not be back to normal for quite some time. And, even if public transportation is running, some staff will avoid it for a while for their own safety. If employees previously relied on public transportation for their commutes, will some need to drive to and from the office? Is there adequate parking for them?

Workspaces where people previously worked in close quarters will need to be reconfigured and/or staff coverage staggered to continue to allow for adequate physical spacing. You may also want to institute a schedule for lunch breaks to avoid too much overlap in a small kitchen or break room space.

Just as you child-proof a home, virus-proof your workplace. What high transit doors can you prop open? In which high-touch, high-volume places can you place disinfectants (such as near the copy machine, the refrigerator, and the microwave)?”

Council of Nonprofits: “The answer will be different for every organization based on multiple factors. The first factor, of course, depends on your mission. If your mission has been “essential” and you’ve remained on-site, what changes will you need to make to accommodate (potentially increased) clientele and any returning paid or volunteer staff? And for those who have continued to work on-site, what additional support do your staff need in terms of time off, longer breaks, or mental health services? For those reopening our doors, we’ll need to consider factors such as the size and layout of the workspace – for individual employees, clients, and visitors – in common spaces and at workstations. Other factors depend on your geographic location, the spread of COVID-19 in your region, and any public health orders by government authorities. And throughout, we all need to consider not the quickest or easiest ways to do something, but rather seek the highest common denominator of what’s needed by our staff members and the people we serve who may be at higher risk of contracting the virus or developing severe complications. A good working mantra could be, ‘Safety of others is our highest priority.’”

Jewish Federations of North America: “The proceeds of PPP loans can be used for for payroll costs; and nonpayroll costs consisting of interest payments on mortgage obligations on real or personal property incurred before February 15, 2020, rent or lease payments under lease agreements for real or personal property in force before February 15, 2020; and covered utility payments for the distribution of electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet access for which service began before February 15, 2020. 

At least 75% of the loan amount must be used for payroll costs. No more than 25 percent of the loan proceeds can be used for nonpayroll costs.”


Jewish Federations of North America: “The interest rate on the loans is 1.0%.”

Jewish Federations of North America: “Payroll Costs includes compensation to employees such as salary, wages, paid vacation, parental, family, and medical or sick leave (not including leave covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act), severance payments; payment for group health benefits, including insurance premiums; retirement benefits; state and local taxes assessed on compensation of employees.”

Jewish Federations of North America: “PPP loans will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The loans were announced as available during the “covered period”, which ends June 30, 2020. Congress is currently debating possible changes to the program. As we do not know if the availability of funding will be extended, it is best to apply as soon as you can.”

Treasury:No. The exclusion of compensation in excess of $100,000 annually applies only to cash compensation, not to non-cash benefits, including: 

  • employer contributions to defined-benefit or defined-contribution retirement plans; 
  • payment for the provision of employee benefits consisting of group health care coverage, including insurance premiums; and 
  • payment of state and local taxes assessed on compensation of employees.”

Treasury: “No. Small business concerns can be eligible borrowers even if they have more than 500 employees, as long as they satisfy the existing statutory and regulatory definition of a “small business concern” under section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632. A business can qualify if it meets the SBA employee-based or revenue-based size standard corresponding to its primary industry. Go to for the industry size standards. 

Additionally, a business can qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program as a small business concern if it met both tests in SBA’s “alternative size standard” as of March 27, 2020: (1) maximum tangible net worth of the business is not more than $15 million; and (2) the average net income after Federal income taxes (excluding any carry-over losses) of the business for the two full fiscal years before the date of the application is not more than $5 million. 

A business that qualifies as a small business concern under section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632, may truthfully attest to its eligibility for PPP loans on the Borrower Application Form, unless otherwise ineligible.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition: “Only certain Private Non-Profit Organizations (PNP’s) are eligible for Category B Public Assistance. To be eligible, the Nonprofit in question must have an IRS-granted tax exemption or documentation from the state showing that they are a non-revenue producing, nonprofit entity organized under state law. They must own or operate a facility that provides “eligible services.” These eligible services are broken into two parts 1) Eligible Critical Services and 2) Eligible Non- Critical, Essential Social Type Services. 

A Nonprofit that owns or operates a facility offering the above services can be eligible as a PNP if such use of the facility is not limited to any of the following: 

  • A certain number of individuals 
  • A defined group of individuals who have a financial interest in the facility (HOA’s, Condominium Associations, etc…) 
  • Certain classes of individuals (NOTE: This requirement does not apply to facilities that restrict access in a manner clearly related to the nature of the facility) 
  • An unreasonable restrictive geographical area, such as a neighborhood within a community.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition: “The EEIG program provides small businesses and nonprofits with an emergency grant of up to $10,000 that does not need to be repaid. To apply for a grant through the EEIG program, a business or organization must first apply for an EIDL and will be able to request a grant in the EIDL application.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition: “The EIDL program offers states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans through the SBA. These loans are distributed to small businesses and private, nonprofit organizations that have experienced a substantial economic impact due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Currently, small businesses and private, nonprofit organizations in all states and territories are eligible to apply for assistance through the EIDL program because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Typically, a state or territory’s governor must first work with SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance to submit a request for EIDL assistance. SBA has the authority to approve the request and issue an EIDL declaration for the state or territory. Once an EIDL declaration is issued, EIDL loan applications are made available for small businesses and private, nonprofit organizations throughout the state or territory.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition: “Unlike typical SBA loans, PPP loans are available to a broader range of businesses and organizations, including tribal organizations, veterans’ organizations, and nonprofits. Nonprofit affordable housing providers who meet SBA’s affiliation standards would be eligible to apply for a PPP forgivable loan to cover the cost of payroll expenses, mortgages, rent, leases, and utility service agreements.” 

“Whether or not a specific affordable housing nonprofit qualifies for a PPP loan varies, although it is likely that Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and LLC management companies controlled or managed by a nonprofit would meet qualification requirements.” 

Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative: “More than 325 U.S. community foundations in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have created relief funds to support those affected by COVID-19 — directing critical relief to local nonprofits and partnering with local governments and health organizations to help contain its spread.

To date, these efforts have already mobilized $536.6 million to help those in need in every corner of the country. Announced grant making to date totals $175 million. (See the latest update.)

A full listing of verified funds, by state, is provided below.


National Counsel of Nonprofits: “The CARES Act provides significant funding for governments, businesses, hospitals, schools, and social support programs, among many other things. Below are key provisions of sector-wide interest to charitable nonprofit organizations.

Paycheck Protection Program Loans (emergency SBA 7(a) loans): Creates an emergency loan program providing loans of up to $10 million for eligible nonprofits and small businesses, permitting them to cover costs of payroll, operations, and debt service, and provides that the loans will be forgiven in whole or in part under certain circumstances. Section 1102.

  • General Eligibility: Available to entities that existed on February 15, 2020 and had paid employees or paid independent contractors.
  • Nonprofit Eligibility: Available for charitable nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees (counting each individual – full time or part time and not FTEs). The law does not disqualify nonprofits that are eligible for payments under Title XIX of the Social Security Act (Medicaid), but does require that employees of affiliated nonprofits may be counted toward the 500 employee cap, depending on the degree of control of the parent organization.
  • No Personal Guarantee: No personal guarantee or collateral will be required in securing a loan.
  • Loan Amount: The lesser of $10 million or 2.5 times the average total monthly payroll (including benefits) costs from the one-year period prior to the date of application.
  • Loan Use: Loan funds can be used to make payroll and associated costs, including health and retirement benefits, facilities costs, and debt service.
  • Loan Forgiveness: Employers that maintain employment for the eight weeks after the origination of the loan, or rehire employees by June 30, would be eligible to have their loans forgiven, essentially turning the loan into a grant. Section 1106.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): Creates emergency grants for eligible nonprofits and other applicants with 500 or fewer employees enabling them to receive checks for $10,000 within three days. Section 1110.

Self-Funded Nonprofits and Unemployment: Only reimburses self-funded nonprofits for half of the costs of benefits provided to their laid-off employees. This is explained in a recent blog article [3]. Section 2103.

Charitable Giving Incentive: Creates a new above-the-line deduction (universal or non-itemizer deduction that applies to all taxpayers) for total charitable contributions of up to $300. The incentive applies to cash contributions made in 2020 and can be claimed on tax forms next year. Section 2204. The law also lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for those who itemize, raising it from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent. For corporations, the law raises the annual limit from 10 percent to 25 percent. Food donations from corporations would be available to 25 percent, up from the current 15 percent cap. Section 2205.                                         

Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit: Creates a refundable payroll tax credit of up to $5,000 for each employee on the payroll when certain conditions are met. The entity had to be an ongoing concern at the beginning of 2020, experienced a whole or partial shutdown, and had seen a drop in revenue of at least 50 percent in the first quarter compared to the first quarter of 2019. The availability of the credit would continue each quarter until the organization’s revenue exceeds 80 percent of the same quarter in 2019. For tax-exempt organizations, the entity’s whole operations must be taken into account when determining eligibility. Notably, employers receiving Paycheck Protection Program loans would not be eligible for these credits. IRS Form 7200, Advance Payment for Employer Credits Due to COVID-19 [4]. Section 2301.

Delayed Payment of Payroll Taxes: Allows employers to delay payment of the employer portion payroll taxes in 2020; payable in equal halves at the end of 2021 and 2022. Section 2301.

Economic Stabilization Fund: Creates a loan and loan guarantee program for industries like airlines to keep them solvent through the crisis. It sets aside $454 billion for “eligible business” which is defined as “a United States business that has not otherwise received economic relief in the form of loans or loan guarantees provided under” the legislation. It is expected, but unclear, whether charitable nonprofits qualify under that definition for stabilization loans. Mid-sized nonprofits and businesses that have between 500 and 10,000 employees are expressly eligible for loans under this provision. Although there is no loan forgiveness provision in this section, the mid-size business loans would be charged an interest rate of no higher than two percent and would not accrue interest or require repayments for the first six months. Nonprofits accepting the mid-size business loans must retain at least 90 percent of their staff at full compensation and benefits until September 30.  Section 4003.

 Other Significant Provisions

Direct Payments to adults of $1,200 or less and $500 per child ($3,400 for a family of four) to be sent out in weeks. The amount of the payments phases out based on earnings of between $75,000 and $99,000 ($150,000 / $198,000 for couples). Section 2201.

Expanded Unemployment Insurance: Includes coverage for workers who are furloughed, gig workers, and freelancers. Increases payments by $600 per week for four months on top of what state unemployment programs pay. Section 2104.

 Amendments to the New Paid Leave Mandates: Lowers the amounts that employers must pay for paid sick and family leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act [5]* (enacted March 19) to the amounts covered by the refundable payroll tax credit – i.e., $511 per day for employee sick leave or $200 per day for family leave. Sections 3601 and 3602.

Significant Spending: The law also calls for large infusions of cash to the following sectors:

  • $150 billion for a state, tribal, and local Coronavirus Relief fund
  • $130 billion for hospitals
  • $30 billion for education
  • $25 billion for transit systems

Legislative Resources

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H.R. 748 legislative text

Section-by-Section Summary of the CARES Act

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