SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — City council members in San Marcos are trying to figure out how to distribute $425,261 in federal funding.

Congress provided $5 billion dollars through the CARES Act for the Community Development Block Grant program.

Twenty percent of San Marcos’ allocated funds will become available as soon as they submit an action plan that is approved.

The money has to be used “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, which can include responding to the economic effects as well as the health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the city’s website.

Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, wants to be a part of San Marcos’ funding plan.

“There is a gap,” says Tricia Schneider, CASA Central Texas development director.

She says the nonprofit, which advocates for abused and neglected children in court, has seen a steady increase in need along with growing central Texas populations.

“We are able to serve about half of the children who need us,” Schneider says.

In Hays and Caldwell counties, Schneider says they could easily use another 200 volunteers right now — and that’s not including the wave of new cases they’re expecting because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know through the hotlines, we know through some reports that child abuse is increasing,” Schneider says.

More help may be on the way as council members try to divvy up CARES Act funding.

CASA San Marcos, asking for $55,000 dollars, is one of a handful of applicants.

A few of the city’s own departments are applying for $200,000 to provide small business relief and a Texas State University group is asking for more than $100,000 to create a portable COVID-19 testing station.

Source: City of San Marcos

“The application that CASA has submitted is specifically to increase in number of children that we’re anticipating needing our services due to COVID-19,” Schneider says.

She says the money will increase staff and services to help about 30 more children.

“We know that that will not meet the full need. We know that there will be more children that need our services,” she says.

San Marcos City Council members are set to discuss all funding applications Tuesday night and come up with a draft action plan.

That is scheduled to be open to a public comment period next week, with a final vote on June 16.