Economic Development Digest 
 
| Economic Development News
Business Retention and Recovery Survey

To better understand how COVID-19 measures and volatile energy prices have affected the region's economy, the Gulf Coast Economic Development District (GCEDD) is asking you to complete this brief survey to identify immediate needs and coordinate economic recovery efforts. Responses are due by April 30.
Gulf Coast Economic Development District April Board Meeting

On April 3, the board of the Gulf Coast Economic Development District (GCEDD) heard presenations from Metrostudy about regional housing economics and the Galveston Economic Development Partnership about business recovery programs in reponse to the COVID-19 crisis. Resources mentioned include RestoreYourEconomy.org, managed by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Visit the GCEDD webpage for meeting minutes, presentations, and information about upcoming GCEDD board meetings.
Greater Houston Business Recovery Center

Established by the Greater Houston Partnership, the Greater Houston Business Recovery Center (GHBRC) is a business-led recovery program that will inform its members and the broader Houston business community about federal programs and opportunities designed to help companies weather and recover from the COVID-19 crisis. 

Visit the GHBRC website for continuously updated information and a list of resources that can help support businesses in the coming weeks and months. 

Contact GHP Public Policy Director Ben Melson for additional details.
Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable Webinar

bringing back main street 250 logo The Houston-Galveston Area Council's (H-GAC) next Bringing Back Main Street Roundtable is from 10 to 11:30 a.m., April 28. This roundtable will be presented as a webinar. The topic is "Remaining Economically Competitive."

Presentations will include 
  • Overview of Wharton County and local economic development indicators, high level insights on impacts of recent economic shocks, and implications for the future of talent-led economic development;
  • Economic snapshot of the City of El Campo, including job growth, key industries, economic development benchmarking, and how the city is poising itself for future growth;
  • Workforce housing as part of the business attraction, retention, and expansion model, including Wharton ISD housing initiatives; and
  • Technical assistance from the U.S. Economic Development Administration via the International Economic Development Council.
Speakers are Courtney Sladek (City of El Campo); Chad Odom (Wharton Economic Development Corporation); Jillian Donatto (H-GAC); and Todd Lang (International Economic Development Council).

Registration for this webinar is required. For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520.
H-GALDC Community Enhancement Grants - Notice of Postponement

H-GALDC Logo To give local governments time to focus their efforts on responding to the pandemic, Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation (H-GALDC) is suspending the application period for the Community Enhancements Grants Initiative. H-GALDC will revisit operations under this initiative as soon as our region has had the opportunity to normalize, with a goal to relaunch set for mid-summer.

All applications that have been submitted will remain valid and will not require re-submission.

For questions or additional information regarding these grants or the small business financing program, please contact H-GALDC staff at loans@h-gac.com.
Economic Development Administration Funding Announced in CARES Act

The U.S. Economic Development Administration will receive $1.5 billion in funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to administer grants through its established Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program. Learn more..

The GCEDD will provide technical assistance for applicants. Please think of eligible economic development projects in your area and contact Josh Owens with any questions.
H-GAC to Release Livable Centers Call for Planning Study Partners

H-GAC will release a call for planning study partners for the Livable Centers program in May. Partners are local governments or other eligible project sponsors.

This is not a request for proposals from consulting firms.

Livable Centers planning studies
  • Help create quality, walkable, mixed-use places;
  • Create multi-modal travel choices;
  • Improve environmental quality; and
  • Promote economic development and housing choice. 
Study recommendations may lead to projects for possible inclusion in the Regional Transportation Plan and future Transportation Improvement Programs. H-GAC anticipates identifying several locations for new Livable Centers studies to recommend for funding.

H-GAC and project partners have completed 30 Livable Centers studies. Learn more about the program's progress in the 10-year evaluation report and summary.

More information about deadlines, specific application content, and pre-proposal meetings will be available online.

For more information, email LivableCenters@h-gac.com.
COVID-19 Federal Rural Resources Guide Released

The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resources Guide offers a list of assistance (technical, financial, and general) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal programs that can help rural communities affected by COVID-19. The matrix includes CARES Act funding opportunities and other federal resources for for-profit businesses, agricultural producers and ranchers, government entities, non-profits, cooperatives, individuals/households, healthcare institutions, and federally-recognized Tribes or Tribal organizations.
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Liberty, Walker, Wharton Broadband Surveys Open

Liberty, Walker, and Wharton counties are acting to improve high-speed internet (broadband) connections for residents and businesses in the counties. Connected Nation is conducting surveys to determine the communities' internet needs. Residents and business owners in Liberty, Walker, and Wharton counties are encouraged to complete the online survey. More survey responses will provide better data to help broaden the provision of high-speed internet. 
April is Fair Housing Month

April is Fair Housing Month, and H-GAC reminds everyone that when it comes to housing, the Federal Fair Housing Act makes it against the law to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or family status. This applies to both selling or renting housing.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently launched a new resource landing page on the prevention of sexual harassment in housing and offers free, online training in addressing and preventing sexual and other discriminatory harassment in housing.

Anyone who feels their fair housing rights have been violated should contact the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777. For more information, visit www.hud.gov/fairhousing.
Disaster Recovery Program | IEDC 
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is placing experienced economic development professionals as volunteers in economic development organizations throughout the region that can use expert input doing various tasks such as: 
  • Attracting inward investment
  • Business outreach, retention and recovery 
  • Community outreach, finance, flood control and mitigation
  • Grant writing, strategic planning, and training/education
Thanks to U.S. Economic Development Administration funding, the volunteers-- who can work remotely--are completely free of charge to communities in the region.
 
For more information, contact Joshua Owens at 832-681-2613.
Recast City Offers Framework for Saving Small Businesses

Recast City has shifted its focus to help save small businesses. Regular webinars and website updates offer information on how to support small businesses affected by COVID-19. Technical assistance is available-set up a call here.
 
| Funding Opportunities
Economic Development Administration Public Works Grants | Ongoing

The Economic Development Administration supports development in economically distressed areas of the United States by fostering job creation and attracting private investment. These Public Works Grants help communities build the infrastructure they need to support job growth and private investment. If you have an economic development infrastructure need in your community, contact Joshua Owens at 832.681.2613. Learn more.  
H-GAC Solid Waste Grants | April 16

H-GAC receives a portion of the money collected as tipping fees at landfills across the state as pass-through funding from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to fund solid waste grant projects throughout the 13-county region. As part of this program, H-GAC will award more than $200,000 in solid waste program grant funds to eligible projects through a competitive process. To be added to an e-mail list to receive future solid waste grant notifications, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525. Learn more.
Environmental Protection Ageny Brownfield Grants | Ongoing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has grants available for cleaning up brownfields. Brownfields are properties that are contaminated by pollutants or hazardous waste. The EPA offers Area Wide Planning Grants, Assessment Grants, Revolving Loan Fund Grants, Cleanup Grants, and Job Training Grants. Learn more.
Community Facilities (CF) Direct Loan & Grant Program | Ongoing

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Community Facilities (CF) Direct Loan & Grant program provides funding to construct, enlarge, or improve essential community facilities in rural areas.  The program has more than $2 billion available for rural communities to build or modernize education, health care, municipal and public safety facilities this fiscal year. Learn more.

Rural Development Strategic Economic and Community Development | June 30

Strategic Economic and Community Development is a Farm Bill provision allowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prioritize projects that support the implementation of regional economic development plans through the following USDA-Rural Development funding programs:
  • Communities Facilities Loans, Grants, and Loan Guarantees
  • Water and Waste Disposal Loans, Grants, and Loan Guarantees
  • Business and Industry Program Loan Guarantees
  • Rural Business Development Grants
Learn more.
Rural Development: Rural Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) | May 7

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development: Rural Housing Preservation Grant Program provides funds to assist low- and very low-income homeowners in repairing and rehabilitating their homes in rural areas. In addition, the program assists cooperative housing complexes and rental property owners in rural areas in repairing and rehabilitating their units if they agree to make such units available to very low- and low-income persons. Learn more.
Rural Community Development Initiative Grants (RCDI)  | May 13

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Community Development Initiative Grants fund programs that develop the capacity and ability of private, nonprofit community-based housing and community development organizations, low-income rural communities, and Native American Tribes to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development in rural areas. Learn more.
Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants (DLT)  | July 13

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program helps rural communities use telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. Learn more.
 
Upcoming Developments 
A distribution center has broken ground on a 22.5-acre parcel in north Houston. Rankin 45 Distribution Center is a 352,303-square-foot center that will be located at 13800 North Freeway near the northeast corner of Rankin Road and Interstate 45. The industrial project is expected to be complete by August.
 
CityPark Logistics is a multiphase business park near the intersection of Beltway 8 and US 90 in Missouri City. Phase I includes a 78,527-square-foot warehouse, a 176,319-square-foot facility and a 199,170-square-foot facility should be complete by the end of 2020. Once complete, the business park will have 1.7 million square feet over seven buildings. 

Sugar Land Crossroads will be a warehouse/distribution project at the intersection of Dairy Ashford Road and W. Airport Boulevard on 20.8 acres. The 326,792-square foot project will consist of two buildings and will be completed in 2021.
 
The Mill, an apartment complex, is under construction at the intersection of Sawdust Road and Grogans Mill Road. The 218,000-square foot, 201-unit multi-family project is expected to open later this year.

Compiled from reports in Community Impact Newspapers, Houston Business Journal, and Texas A&M University Real Estate Center

 
Upcoming Events
 
 
 
April 22 | Environmental Impact Bonds: A New Opportunity for Texas | Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation | Webinar
 
 
April 29 - May 1 | NPC20@ Home | APA
 
May 8 | State of the City | GHP | Houston
 
 

The Economic Development Digest is published monthly by the

Houston-Galveston Area Council, 3555 Timmons Lane, Suite 120, Houston, TX 77027
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