Ongoing COVID-19 Assistance

14 Jun 2021

While the immediate and most urgent impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic may have lessened, the effects are still relevant in many people’s lives as they navigate running a business, finding work, paying bills, and other necessary tasks. Below is an update on some of the state and federal programs currently available to provide ongoing assistance to individuals, businesses, and communities. 

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The Wyoming Department of Family Services, with assistance from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, is administering the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), a U.S. Treasury initiative that directly pays landlords for unpaid rent, utilities, and internet for qualified tenants in Wyoming. This program provides more flexible eligibility than the 2020 program and has $180 million available.

Energy Rebound Program

Earlier this week, Gov. Mark Gordon relaunched the Energy Rebound Program (ERP) with $12 million in leftover CARES Act funding to help get more people working in the energy sector in the state. In 2020, ERP provided much-needed assistance for specified oil and gas projects and will continue to provide economic benefits to this important industry, workforce, and the entire state of Wyoming.

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will administer the program and is accepting applications from June 15 to June 25. Once again, there is a cap of $500,000 for each approved project, and oil and gas operators will need to certify the number of jobs created for Wyoming workers. Learn more and apply at

Broadband Connectivity

The ConnectWyoming program authorized by Gov. Gordon in 2020 is currently closed; however, a lot of work is being done to prepare for additional state and federal funding to support and expand broadband connectivity across the state. Stay tuned for more details as they become available. 

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This benefit connects eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and so much more by providing a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households. 

Agriculture and Rural Community Assistance

Drought Assistance Resources - Gov. Gordon also announced this week the launch of a new website that will provide detailed, updated information on drought conditions in Wyoming. Developed through a collaboration of multiple state and federal agencies, will be a resource for multiple sectors that monitor drought conditions.

The site provides resources and information for specific sectors impacted by drought, including agriculture, tourism, recreation, municipalities, and water utilities. It also offers information on federal and state resources and assistance available to those impacted by drought. Information on wildfire conditions and restrictions plus links to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) drought disaster designations for Wyoming are also available on the website.

USDA Resources - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its Federal partners have programs to provide immediate and long-term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These programs can support recovery efforts for rural residents, businesses, and communities through:

  • Technical, training, and management assistance;
  • Financial assistance; and
  • State and local assistance.

Check out this resource matrix for funding opportunities identified in stimulus bills and other federal resources that can help support rural America. Opportunities are categorized by customer and assistance type.

Unemployment Assistance

The State of Wyoming has opted out of the federal Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs, and those extended benefits will no longer be paid to UI claimants as of June 19. However, the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) is available to help unemployed individuals. If you hear from individuals who are having difficulty finding employment, you can direct them to their nearest Workforce Center.

There are 20 Workforce Centers around the state, each staffed with capable Workforce Specialists who can assist with job searches, help polish resumes, conduct mock interviews, and register job seekers in the job search engine. Workforce Specialists also connect qualifying individuals with job training or educational opportunities, as well as funding to complete that training; and they can help job seekers who have physical, mental, or emotional barriers to employment connect with Vocational Rehabilitation counselors to overcome those challenges. 

Small Business Assistance

The Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network has staff located throughout the state available to meet with businesses virtually (phone or web conferencing). They offer confidential, no-cost technical assistance to help create a strategy specific to a business owner’s needs.

They recently expanded their advising opportunities with the Wyoming SBDC Network CARES Act Recovery Program. This program provides free support and assistance throughout all four phases of business recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic: Response, Recovery, Resiliency, and Reinvention. Armed with first-hand small business experience, their expanded team of advisors comes from all areas of interest and a wide variety of industry backgrounds. 

Learn more about Wyoming SBDC resources at

Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several relief options to help businesses, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations recover from the impacts of COVID-19. 

For details, visit