Mississippi received $1.25 billion in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act pandemic relief in 2020.

Here’s a breakdown of how state lawmakers spent the money, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Note: You can read a bulleted list under the graphic.

Graphic by Bethany Atkinson

READ MORE: CARES Act money was supposed to help Mississippi businesses. Did it?

Housing assistance: $20 million for rental assistance grant program, providing grants up to $30,000 to eligible rental businesses that lost rent income from March-December 2020.

Elections: $1 million for pandemic expenses for elections

Higher education: $10 million for private schools and colleges

Veterans Affairs: $10 million

Health: $10 million for Health Department to establish Mississippi ICU Infrastructure program.

Health: $129.7 million for health care, including $80 million for hospitals and nearly $50 million for other health providers and nonprofits, including food pantries.

Tourism: $15 million

K-12 education: $150 million for K-12 distance learning

Unemployment: $181.8 million for unemployment trust fund.

Judiciary: $2.5 million for courts and judiciary

Corrections: $20 million for corrections

Small business relief: $300 million for small business relief grants (only about half of this was used for the grants, with the remainder redirected to other programs or the unemployment fund)

Health: $4 million to the Health Department to reimburse specialty hospitals for pandemic expenses

Emergency/disaster response: $40 million to Mississippi Emergency Management Agency for pandemic expenses.

Higher ed: $50 million for community colleges.

K-12 education: $50 million for K-12 internet connectivity

Governor: $50 million for governor’s discretionary fund

Higher ed: $50 million for universities

Workforce: $55 million for workforce development

Local government: $70 million for cities and counties

Broadband/technology: $75 million for grant program for electric cooperatives and providers to expand high-speed internet access and $10 million to the Mississippi Wireless Information network for communications for first responders and hospital ERs.


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Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.