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Read our report on six communities’ experiences with pandemic funding and programs, which provides valuable lessons learned to improve federal emergency response programs.

<Press Release>

PRAC Releases Report Examining Pandemic Relief Funding in Six Diverse Communities

This report highlights the experiences of six communities across the United States that received a combined $2.65 billion in pandemic relief funding between March 2020 and September 2021, providing valuable insights to improve the funding, design, and implementation of future emergency response programs.

Washington, DC — Michael E. Horowitz, Chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), announced the release of a report that expands on the PRAC’s review of pandemic relief funding in six communities across the United States: Springfield, Massachusetts; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Sheridan County, Nebraska; Marion County, Georgia; White Earth Nation Reservation in Minnesota; and Jicarilla Apache Nation Reservation in New Mexico.

“This case study-based review is the result of the collaborative oversight efforts of the PRAC and 10 of our member Offices of Inspectors General. In phase one, our work in these communities revealed missing, hard to find, and meaningless federal spending data that make it difficult to follow the money and hold decision makers accountable,” said Chair Horowitz. “In phase two, we assessed the impact of pandemic relief funding on the people, businesses, and local governments it was intended to help. We met with local officials to understand whether federal aid supported the unique populations, demographics, and needs of their community. We hope this two-phase review helps federal policymakers and program managers identify lessons learned from the country’s pandemic response to improve their response to the next national emergency.”

Phase two of this review provides insights on the experiences of the two cities, two rural counties, and two Tribal reservations that received a combined $2.65 billion in pandemic relief funding across 89 pandemic programs and subprograms. In addition to this report that highlights our insights across the six communities, the PRAC will issue separate reports for each location that will focus on the specific programs and subprograms that provided funding in each locale. 

The report identifies four themes drawn from the experiences of the six communities that lawmakers and agencies should consider when funding, designing, and implementing government emergency response programs:  

  • Difficulty navigating federal programs: While communities appreciated the pandemic relief funding, new and changing program guidance or reporting requirements caused confusion and burdens.

  • Understanding the community: Community leaders’ extensive knowledge of their residents’ challenges and needs, coupled with their ability to build and maintain trust, was key to successful pandemic response efforts.

  • Addressing pre-existing challenges: Rural counties and Tribal reservations may have experienced more difficulty responding to COVID-19 because they also had to address pre-existing challenges — such as staffing and internet limitations — that were amplified during the pandemic.  

  • COVID-19 impacted more than health: In addition to the serious health-related impacts of COVID-19, community leaders had to address multiple challenges created by the pandemic such as food insecurity, maintaining public safety, and supporting small businesses. These challenges affected every aspect of community life, many of which lingered more than two years into the pandemic.

See highlights and read the full report to learn how these six communities used federal pandemic relief funds.


The PRAC was established by the CARES Act to promote transparency and support independent oversight of the funds provided by the CARES Act and other related emergency spending bills. In addition to its coordination and oversight responsibilities, the PRAC is tasked with supporting efforts to “prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement [and] mitigate major risks that cut across program and agency boundaries.”

If you have additional questions, please contact Lisa Reijula at

Page last modified: 04/04/2024
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