How to track homeless aid funding in the CARES Act

The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism created the MoneyTracker to analyze the $4 billion in emergency homeless funding included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which Congress passed in March.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the aid through its Emergency Solutions Grants program based on a new formula that calculated need. State and local governments were required to submit spending plans and get HUD approval in order to access the funds.

To see how much money had been awarded and accessed from the time the funds were allocated in the CARES Act through November, the Howard Center consulted HUD’s table of funding allocations for the 362 communities nationwide that were eligible for the aid.

Reporters also pulled data weekly from, an online database managed by the Treasury Department that shows all payouts for federal grants, loans and contracts. They wrote a script to compare that data against the HUD awards under the CARES Act.

The MoneyTracker compiles these two data sources to show out how much of the $4 billion aid had reached the local level and where it had stalled.