The Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Gulf Coast Economic Development District stand ready to assist our 13-county region in pursuing strategies to recover from the double-layered impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the downturn in oil and gas markets. These are challenging times that create strains on our economy, as well as opportunities to rethink the way we all do business.
We issue an Economic Recovery Resources - Weekly Update to help our local partners stay on top of new funding opportunities. The sheer volume of grant, loan, and technical assistance offerings can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate. We hope our weekly update and website make it easier for you to secure the resources you need to recover quickly.
Subscribers to the monthly Regional Economic Development Digest will receive the weekly update automatically.
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The Local Initiatives Support Corporation will open another round of the Rural Relief Small Business grant program for small businesses in a rural community facing immediate financial pressure due to COVID-19 on Thanksgiving—November 26. Rural communities are defined as having a population of 50,000 or less. Applicants can be awarded between $5,000 and $20,000 for expenses including rent and utilities, payroll, debt payments, and other immediate operational costs.
The application deadline is December 2, 2020. Additional application windows will be December 29, 2020 - January 5, 2021 and January 26 - February 2, 2021. See more grant information and frequently asked questions.
The regional unemployment rate in October fell to 7.7%, which is down from 9.6% in September and up from 3.6% in October 2019. The regional rate of 7.7% is also higher than the both the statewide rate (6.7%) and the national rate (6.6%). In the Houston-Galveston region, this represents 265,523 individuals without work and looking for a new job.
Workforce Solutions reports that seasonal employment remains relatively strong despite the COVID-19 pandemic. "October marks the start of temporary increases in payrolls related to the holiday season, and the monthly jobs report reflects this," said Workforce Solutions Economist, Parker Harvey. Read the full report .
The White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council and HUD are hosting a webinar series for local economic development leaders and stakeholders in communities with designated Opportunity Zones (OZs). Public officials, community development professionals, nonprofit organizations, civic leaders, and other local economic development stakeholders are encouraged to attend.
December 3 - Join to Understand the Current Environment and Align Place-Based Assets
December 8 - Join to learn how to Establish Policy Tools and Incentives, Develop Partnerships, and Measure Impacts
December 15 - Learn how to Develop Your OZ Action Plan to Build or Strengthen Your Local OZ Ecosystem
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is seeking eight volunteer communities for a research project to understand how communities are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. IEDC will work with each community, offering virtual technical assistance, over a 12- to 15-month period to learn from local efforts and further inform IEDC’s recovery and resilience work. At the conclusion of the project, IEDC will also provide recommendations to the community’s corresponding economic development districts to help enhance the resiliency sections of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). Apply online using their application form. If you have any questions, please contact Emily Brown at email@example.com. Applications are due November 30, 2020.
Join the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Annual Fall Planning Workshop on Friday, December 4 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. This annual half-day workshop for local governments will focus on Responsible Revitalization and build on last year’s workshop theme “Building Equity into Planning.” This year, hear best planning practices for ensuring equitable housing, equitable jobs, and equitable transportation. Registration is required. For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Mitigation Assistance grant program and the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities pre-disaster mitigation program provide states and local communities with funding for eligible mitigation activities.
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is the State of Texas applicant for all Flood Mitigation Assistance projects. Communities must submit their sub-applications to the TWDB for review no later than December 1, 2020.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is the State of Texas application for all Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities projects. Communities must submit their sub-applications to TEDM for review no later than December 1, 2020. TWDB and TDEM will package and submit all sub-applications to FEMA by January 29, 2021.
The Brave of Heart Fund was established to help meet the financial needs of the surviving family of an eligible healthcare worker who has lost their life from a cause related to COVID-19. Eligible family members include a spouse or domestic partner, a dependent child, or dependent parent. Short term awards of up to $15,000 and long-term awards up to $60,000, depending on circumstances, are available. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until May 15, 2021.
The Socioeconomic Modeling Staff at the Houston-Galveston Area Council prepared an economic indicators report on the impact of COVID-19 in the region. Indicators include unemployment, residential activity, commercial office, retail, and industrial activity, airport activity, tax records, hospital statistics, and mobility statistics
Celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday allows consumers to make an impact in their neighborhoods by supporting local small businesses. Last year, an estimated 110 million U.S. consumers shopped small on Small Business Saturday. This year, small businesses need our support as they navigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Small business owners can get free marketing materials from American Express, and shoppers can find participating small businesses in their areas
To weather the challenges brought by the coronavirus pandemic, small business owners must become adept social media and website users. Texas A&M Agrilife Extension released a “Building Your Online Presence—Immediately” guide with straightforward information on how to expand an online store, run an email or text campaign, and build a social media following.
The University of Houston Texas Gulf Coast Small Business Development Centers offer free access to pre-recorded webinars for small businesses and a selection of upcoming webinars. Topics include business websites for 2021, the basics of a food subscription program, business loans, cybersecurity training for employees, and the digital age of marketing for restaurants.
The Small Business Administration and Department of Treasury have jointly posted a new rule affecting the forgiveness and loan review processes for borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program loans of $50,000 or less. These borrowers are now exempt from any reduction in forgiveness based on the reduction in the number of FTE employees or employee salaries or wages. They can also use the simplified SBA Form 3508S to apply for forgiveness, unless the borrower and its business affiliates received loans totaling $2 million or more. View instructions for completing the simpler loan forgiveness application.
The Paycheck Protection Program, designed to incentivize small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll, is no longer accepting applications. This spring 52,150 loans worth more than $150,000 were awarded to Texas businesses and nonprofits. The Houston-Galveston Area Council has published data on the number of PPP loans given by zip code in the region.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, designed to provide long-term, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profit organizations impacted by the coronavirus, is no longer granting advances. All available funding has been obligated, although the Small Business Administration is still processing applications.
Texas Workforce Commission partnered with Metrix Learning to help recently unemployed Texas residents learn new skills and prepare to get back to work. The Metrix online learning platform provides free online training, with courses offered in English and Spanish. Courses include Microsoft Office; Adobe; Quick Books, Customer Service, Analytical Skills; Data Management/Reporting and more. Learn more about the Skills Enhancement Initiative.
The Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) is providing services to small- and medium-sized manufacturers, such as connecting businesses that are pivoting their production in response to the coronavirus to new supply chains, connecting firms with state resources, advising companies on new operational issues, and providing workforce support. TMAC is part of the National Institute of Standard and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). View regional office locations in Texas.
Throughout their network, University of Houston Texas Gulf Coast Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are open and available to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19. SBDCs provide business advising, access to training, tools and resources to help small businesses start, grow, expand and succeed.
The following funding opportunities are currently open to local governments and economic development organizations.
View This Grant Opportunity
The US 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. Infrastructure types include water / wastewater, roads, and facilities.
If you have an economic development infrastructure need in your community, email Jillian Donatto or call 631-897-3817.
View This Funding Opportunity
The Economic Development Administration recently announced the Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge. Funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the SPRINT Challenge will make investments of up to $750,000 over 18 months and $500,000 over 12 months in organizations working to rapidly address the economic, health, and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic through entrepreneurship and innovation. More information on eligibility and program information is available in the notice of funding opportunity.
Fiscal Year 2020 Hazard Mitigation Assistance funding includes the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program and the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation grant program. FEMA’s two competitive mitigation grant programs provide states, local communities, tribes and territories funding for eligible mitigation activities.
To learn more about each program, see the BRIC Fact Sheet and FMA Fact Sheet.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is the State of Texas application for all Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities projects. Communities must submit their sub-applications to TEDM for review no later than December 1, 2020.
The 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.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for Community Connect Grants for Fiscal Year 2021 to provide broadband service in unserved rural areas. Funds can be used to construct facilities used to deploy broadband services to residents, businesses, and essential community facilities (schools, libraries, fire stations etc.) or to cover the cost of providing broadband service free of charge to community facilities for 2 years. State and local governments, both for-profits and non-profits, and limited liability companies are eligible to apply for up to $3,000,000.
The Texas Department of Agriculture announced several competitive grant applications for their 2021 TxCDBG programs, including the: Community Development Fund; Colonia Fund: Construction Program; and Downtown Revitalization Program. Eligible applicants are non-entitlement cities with populations under 50,000 and non-entitlement counties that have a non-metropolitan population under 200,000 and are not eligible for direct CDBG funding.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development is offering loan guarantees to lenders for their loans to rural businesses and agricultural producers to supplement their working capital to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the economic impacts of the coronavirus.
View This Webinar
Learn the basics of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) from the Small Business Administration and hear answers to the most frequently asked questions. No registration required; join live at 1 p.m. on November 24.
Participants will walk step-by-step through the Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness application. No registration required; join live at 11 a.m. on November 25.
Join this webinar to hear from county leaders about how they are using CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) dollars to support local public health entities in preparation for the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine
The Texas Tribune’s weeklong virtual symposium will preview the top legislative priorities for the 2021 legislative session, including the impact of COVID-19 on the state budget and how redistricting will affect the state’s political future.
Explore the variety of financing tools for local food systems development and best practices for investing in resilient local food economies. Development finance experts from Texas (and beyond) will share details of various financing programs and project investments that have contributed to building a successful, local food system.
These partner organizations provide information to local governments, businesses, and economic development organizations on available recovery resources.
The Greater Houston Partnership has established the Greater Houston Business Recovery Center (GHBRC), which will provide guidance on policy and financing related to recovery programs.
RestoreYourEconomy is your resource for up-to-date information related to COVID-19 and its economic impacts.
H-GALDC is a certified development company (CDC) and currently licensed throughout Texas. Its economic development by making available low-cost small businesses under the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) SBA 504 Loan Program. The H-GLADC administers the GCEDD Revolving Loan Fund, which is providing bridge loans for Economic Injury Disaster Loan applicants.
H-GAC is the regional organization through which local governments consider issues and cooperate in solving area wide problems. The Houston-Galveston Area Council COVID-19 response page contains information for small businesses, teleworking best practices, and Workforce Solutions updates. It also provides updates on impacted H-GAC programs, meetings, and events.
The Texas Economic Development Council COVID-19 webpage catalogs webinars, small business program examples, research white papers, Texas Workforce Commission resources, and advice for retailers.
The National Association of Development Organizations COVID-19 resource center provides advocacy resources, upcoming virtual events and training, federal agency COVID-19 resources, member response resources, national partner organizations response resources, Office of Management and Budget guidance, state-by-state workforce guidelines, philanthropic resources for communities.
The International Economic Development Council Corona Virus Response webpage provides information on the IEDC's COVID-19 webinar series and frequently updated situational reports.
Main Street Forward provides a wide range of free resources for Main Street leaders, including recovery planning tools, research, and best practices and examples from around the Main Street Network.
To discuss economic recovery needs you may have, please contact:
Jillian Donatto Jillian.Donatto@h-gac.com 631-897-3817
Houston-Galveston Area Council