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Tulsa COVID-19 Relief Funding

Tulsa CARES Banner


Updated July 31, 2023 


The City of Tulsa is addressing the needs of vulnerable Tulsans and ensuring the city’s resilience through community-driven programming. The City received $30.9 million in reimbursements for public safety expenses from the State of Oklahoma’s Coronavirus Relief Funds, $10.2 million in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and $756,950 in Tulsa County CARES funds for the City’s Downtown Coordinating Council.

The City received additional funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the amount of $87.8 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Get a glimpse of the impact these COVID-19 Relief funds have in the community through these videos: EnglishSpanish 


Local Community and Economic Development Programs

This program provides subsidized Internet access to local families with public school students and Tulsa Housing Authority residents who currently lack Internet amid the pandemic. The funds also launched the Tulsa Responds team which acts as navigators and help families get connected, ensure they know what Internet options are available, and navigate any technological challenges.

Impact: More than 2,400 households enrolled

Apply for internet subsidy: If you are not a current internet subscriber AND have a student attending a TPS, Union, Jenks, or affiliated charter school, or if you live in THA housing, you may qualify for this program. Apply at or call Tulsa Responds at 918.900.0918 to see if you qualify.

Partners: Jenks Public Schools, Tulsa Public Schools, Union Public Schools, Tulsa Community Foundation, Tulsa Housing Authority, ImpactTulsa and Cox Communications.

From September 2020 to June 2021, the funds provided day and night shelter services at the former Juvenile Detention Center for individuals experiencing homelessness, including warm meals, legal aid, case management and free pet clinics. The funds allocated also provide hotel facilities to prevent overcrowding in shelters and community spread of COVID-19. Individuals who test positive for the virus are safely quarantined at the City Lights Hotel and provide daily meals. Community partners also coordinate outreach to people experiencing homelessness and have helped permanently house individuals.

Impact: More than 27,021 visits at overflow shelter, more than 47,910 meals provided by Iron Gate, 230 people have been sheltered at City Lights Hotel (85 of those have tested positive for COVID-19), 51 people have been placed in permanent housing, and thanks to a partnership with local restaurants, more than 60,000 meals have been provided to guests in the past year.

Partners: Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, City Lights Foundation, Tulsa Day Center, A Better Way, A Way Home for Tulsa, Iron Gate, Skyline Animal Hospital, Community Service Council, Housing Solutions

Overflow Shelter Services: September 2020 to June 2021

The City utilized the funds for public facility improvements and modifications to support public health. The phased buildout of the facilities includes ultraviolet light kits for air sanitation, touchless system modifications to restroom facilities and points of entry and exit, temperature monitoring stations, personal protective equipment and more. Of these funds, $500,000 will be utilized to provide air scrubbers to help reduce airborne contaminants for multiple offsite City of Tulsa locations to ensure a healthy and safe working environment for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Tulsa County CARES provided the Downtown Coordinating Council (DCC) funds to help small businesses during the pandemic. DCC provided $10,000 grants to eligible Downtown businesses to expand operations outdoors via a parklet, sidewalk cafe and street dining.

Impact: More than $400,000 awarded to 43 small businesses

The Financial Navigators (FN) program provided an opportunity for residents to access guidance over the phone at no cost to answer common questions regarding financial concerns, such as prioritizing daily living expenses and managing debt. FN counselors provide services in English, Spanish and Burmese. 

The Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) provides more in-depth counseling by a professional financial counselor to help individuals tackle debt, increase savings and improve credit. This program offers recurring appointments with counselors to track progress. FEC counselors provide services in English and Spanish, but a language line is also accessible to offer services in other languages.

Watch the Financial Empowerment Center Launch Video: English
Watch the FEC and tax services video: English | Spanish


  • Financial Navigators: 239 sessions completed for Financial Navigators and 1,790 referrals given (top three topics: utilities hardship, rental assistance, food insecurity)
  • Financial Empowerment Center: To date, the FEC has helped nearly 302 people with one-on-one financial counseling through 863 sessions. More than $58,000 in debt has been reduced among the clients, and savings have been increased by more than $58,000.

Partners: Goodwill Industries of Tulsa, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund

Launch Date of Financial Navigators: August 3, 2020
Launch Date of Financial Empowerment Center: December 10, 2020

  • The student support camps offered daycare services for children in first through sixth grades at City parks and recreation centers to help with virtual learning and classroom work, while adhering to social distance guidelines.

Impact: Camps averaged between 70 to 80 students daily at five community centers throughout the city. All the centers also offered "Virtual Wednesdays," when Tulsa Public Schools were closed to in-person learning.

Program Services: September 2020 - March 2021

Tulsa County CARES provided the Downtown Coordinating Council $81,950 to help support the personal health and safety of Tulsans. In combination of $12,6000 awarded by the State of Oklahoma, the City used the funds to supply portable public restroom facilities to be used by vulnerable individuals or those experiencing homelessness. The facilities were serviced and sanitized daily for six months, while providing employment to individuals experiencing homelessness to help keep Downtown public areas clean amid the pandemic. The funds were also used to cover the costs for sanitation supplies and equipment.

Impact: Two sanitation ambassadors hired; sanitation supplies acquired and deployed throughout downtown

Partners: A Better Way, Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, Tulsa County

Launch Date: Week of October 12, 2020

The Tulsa Fire Department will install automated vehicle location tracking in fire vehicles to provide reliable, wireless network connection and remote monitoring for the department's mobile responder fleet.

The City of Tulsa allocated funds for two new positions (Program Manager and Communications Specialist) to oversee the City's efforts to utilize COVID-19 relief funds to reduce the first and second order effects of the pandemic and to formulate a communications strategy to ensure businesses and Tulsa residents are aware of the programs and resources available.

The funds will be utilized for Veritor Plus Influenza and Strep Kits for City employees for early detection in order to keep employees safe and healthy amid the pandemic.

The City of Tulsa is partnering with Tulsa Community WorkAdvance, a local workforce development program, to support Tulsans who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Retrain Tulsa will be a physical and online space for job seekers to access career services and soft skills training. The goal is help 500 Tulsans find high-wage employment in different sectors, such as healthcare, information technology, professional services, and advanced manufacturing.

Partners: Tulsa Community WorkAdvance

The City of Tulsa has partnered with 36 Degrees North, a local nonprofit focusing on co-working and innovation, to provide physical space and resources to high-growth startup companies. The funds were utilized to launch a business incubation program out of the fifth floor of City Hall, which was vacant for the past two years. Lease revenues from 36 Degrees North will be used to replenish the Pandemic Relief Fund, which will allow for funding of additional recovery efforts in the city.

Impact: As of May 2022, the incubator is 92% occupied and has served more than 50 companies. Since the incubator's launch, 36 Degrees North has seen millions of dollars invested into Tulsa's startups by capital partners housed in the incubator.

Partners: 36 Degrees North

Launch Date: July 2021

The funds will be used to enhance the methamphetamine treatment plan at 12&12 in Tulsa that began before COVID-19 to address Tulsa’s largest drug problem. 12&12 is one of the state’s largest comprehensive community addiction recovery centers for adults. Funding will go toward hiring a case manager, two peer recovery support specialists and perform program evaluation in this multi-partner collaboration to treat methamphetamine addiction.

Partners: 12&12, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Family and Children’s Services, the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Workforce Tulsa, Sangha Sober Living, Healthy Minds Policy Initiative, Mental Health Association Oklahoma, Tulsa Police Department, Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office

Status: Pending contract approval

Support for Local Nonprofits

The Greenwood Entrepreneurship Incubator @ Moton (GEIM) will create an entrepreneurship hub at the historic Moton Health Center to support Tulsa entrepreneurs launch their business. This initiative is a three-part program including a physical incubator space, entrepreneurial accelerator program, and ongoing funding source for entrepreneurs.

GEIM will serve as a physical incubator space redeveloped from the historic Moton Health Center at Pine St. and N. Greenwood Ave. where North Tulsa entrepreneurs can turn their vision into a reality. This funding will also support the launch of MORTAR Tulsa, a TEDC accelerator that leverages the expertise and talent of the local community through a 15-week course where entrepreneur cohorts develop their ideas into successful businesses. Finally, $1 million will seed the Build Tulsa Fund for GEIM and MORTAR businesses to obtain financing to launch their businesses.

Partners: Tulsa Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) Creative Capital, Tulsa Development Authority, Tulsa County

Launch Date of MORTAR's Cohort 1: July 7, 2021

Launch Date of MORTAR's Cohort 2: September 1, 2021

Learn more about MORTAR Tulsa 

Apply to be part of MORTAR Tulsa 

Federal Funding for Coronavirus Relief

The federal funds will be used to continue assisting individuals and families experiencing homelessness to gain stability and transition to permanent housing. The funds will be used for homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing program and shelter services and operations. The grant will assist with costs associated with temporary emergency shelter operations (including quarantining clients in motels), shelter services, case management and direct client housing assistance.

Partners: City of Tulsa, Youth Services of Tulsa, Salvation Army, Mental Health Association Oklahoma, Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Legal Aid, Tulsa Day Center, Family Safety Center, Restore Hope Ministries, Center for Housing Solutions, Tulsa CARES

The federal funds will be utilized to assist in community development activities. The grant will assist with costs associated with economic recovery through small business loans and financial empowerment centers, physical improvements related to COVID-19, and increased public service programs, including but not limited to health services, job training and emergency payments.

Partners: TEDC, Goodwill

The federal funds will be used to help people living with HIV/AIDS through the Tulsa CARES social services organization. The grant will assist with costs associated with short term rent mortgage and utilities (STRMU) payments, permanent housing placements, support services and administrative costs.

Internal Funding

The amounts allocated will be used for the City's internal funding, including convention and tourism facilities fund and general fund.

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

The City of Tulsa launched a grants program to award up to $6.5 million from COVID-19 relief funding to nonprofits in order to address the negative local effects of the pandemic.

Learn more about the Relief Grant recipients