DENVER (KDVR) — The federal faucet has been on full blast for Colorado since the pandemic began.
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency said Monday that it issued the darkest of a year’s worth of COVID assistance payments to Colorado: funeral expenses.
FEMA is paying out $7.9 million to about 1,400 recipients to cover funeral costs for Colorado’s COVID victims who died on or after Jan. 20, 2020.
The figure is the latest of more than 30 individual payments made by FEMA to the State of Colorado, its government agencies or cities within its borders since then-President Donald Trump declared the pandemic a national emergency in spring 2020.
Vaccines, testing, unemployment
Alongside the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan Act stimulus bills, COVID money has been flowing to U.S. states through emergency declaration through FEMA.
Between then and now, FEMA has issued more than $1.6 billion to Colorado for everything from leasing fees to vaccination programs.
Most of the money went to three broad destinations: vaccines and vaccination site management, testing sites and the $300-per-week unemployment benefit extension.
More FEMA-issued money has gone to testing than anything else, with unemployment a close second.
FEMA has issued $596.5 million to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment or the City and County of Denver to build, maintain and staff mass testing sites, maintain contracts with testing laboratories and pay for the testing itself.
A similar amount has gone to unemployed Coloradans: $554 million.
Building, staffing and stocking vaccine programs cost FEMA the third biggest slice with $170.6 million, followed by emergency shelter funding at $70.2 million — which doesn’t include the $10 million it took to lease and convert the Colorado Convention Center and Ranch Events Center to COVID overflow sites.
Colorado gets large share
FEMA is currently getting a list together for Data Desk about how much it has paid out to each U.S. state. In the meantime, March numbers show Colorado got paid far more from FEMA than neighboring states.
The release details FEMA Region 8, which includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
Two-thirds of Region 8’s FEMA money to that point went to Colorado alone.
Through March 2021, according to a release, Colorado had been paid $959 million from FEMA — about five times more than neighboring Utah received.
Data Desk will have a detailed national comparison of FEMA funding upcoming.