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CARES Act funding for small businesses available today

HARRISBURG — Governor Tom Wolf announced that beginning today small businesses across Pennsylvania can apply for grants to offset lost revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shutdown order.

“In unprecedented times, like those we are currently facing, collaboration is imperative to getting help to those who need it most, as quickly and effectively as possible,” said Gov. Wolf. “This joint effort between my administration, the legislature, and The Pennsylvania CDFI Network will provide critical assistance to Pennsylvania’s small businesses, putting them on better financial footing as they begin to reopen.”

The COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance program, announced earlier this month, will provide $225 million in grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to eligible businesses through Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

Beginning today, eligible businesses may begin applying for the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance program here.

The first application window will remain open for 10 days. Applications will continue to be accepted after 10 business days but will be considered for future rounds of funding, as this is not a first-come, first-served program. Applications will be prioritized and selected for funding based on the program criteria.

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will distribute the funds to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which will then administer the funding in the form of grants.

Eligible businesses will be able to use the grants to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and transition to re-opening, and for technical assistance including training and guidance for business owners as they stabilize and relaunch their businesses.

The funds will be available through three programs:

— $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the governor’s March 19, 2020 order relating to the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses and have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19;

–$100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the business closure order, have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19, and in which socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51 percent interest and also control management and daily business operations.

— $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program, which will allow the CDFIs the opportunity to offer forbearance and payment relief for existing portfolio businesses that are struggling due to the impact of COVID, as well as shore up the financial position of the CDFIs that are experiencing significant increased defaults in their existing loan portfolios.

This project is financed by a grant from the federal Department of U.S. Treasury, under the administration of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania CDFI Network. The PA CDFI Network is a group of 17 PA-based community development financial institutions that primarily provide financing options for small businesses.

More information about the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance program can be found on DCED’s website.

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