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.
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The Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation (H-GALDC) is making loans of up to $50,000 available to small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Funds are available for projects in the following Texas counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton. More eligibility information and the online application are available on the H-GALDC website.
The second round of the HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program will open on Thursday, October 22 at 11am. The program offers grants between $5,000 and $15,000 to brick-and-mortar small businesses in commercial districts entering the next phases of reopening. Eligible expenses include physical improvements to business space to meet COVID-19 requirements, equipment to comply with public health and safety guidelines, fees associated with expanding the business to e-commerce sales, other professional services such as business plan modifications, rent, payroll, and other operating expenses. Awards are made on a competitive and first-come, first-served basis; the previous round of funding was obligated within 5 days of opening in early August. Applications are due October 29, 2020.
On October 26, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation will open another round of the Rural Relief Small Business grant program for small businesses located in a rural community facing immediate financial pressure due to COVID-19. 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 opens on Monday, October 26, 2020 and closes on Monday, November 2, 2020. See more grant information and frequently asked questions.
On October 14, the Economic Development Administration launched 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. Applications are due December 3, 2020.
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.
In April, June, and August 2020 the Federal Reserve System conducted surveys to better understand the challenges that under-resourced and low-income communities are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings are available in Perspectives from Main Street: The Impact of COVID-19 on Communities and the Entities Serving Them, which helps explain how this crisis is affecting organizations that support community needs. The Federal Reserve will regularly relaunch this survey to report on change over time. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete and responses are due by Saturday, October 31, 2020.
H-GAC's Bringing Back Main Street initiative will host the second annual Rural and Small Town Downtown Revitalization Summit from 9:30AM. to 12:30PM on Tuesday, October 27. Planned topics include doing business during COVID-19, including ways to attract visitors and residents to downtowns, support and maintain downtown businesses, and plan for growth in downtowns. This event will be online. Registration is required. For more information, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520.
State Farm is making Good Neighbor Citizenship grants of at least $5,000 available to educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, chambers of commerce, and programs conducted by municipal, county, state or federal government entities that align with the State Farm charitable focus areas: safety, education, and community development. Applications will be accepted online from October 1 to October 31, 2020.
FEMA's National Exercise Division is now accepting nominations to the National Exercise Program. The program offers no-cost assistance to local governments for exercise design, development, execution and evaluation to validate capabilities in all preparedness mission areas. Applications are due November 1, 2020.
For questions, send an email to the National Exercise Division.
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 Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) approved an additional $5 million from the Skills Development Fund for training programs in high-demand occupations, with priority for the healthcare, manufacturing, and IT sectors in response to COVID-19. In April, TWC approved up to $10 million to support COVID-19 Skills grants. To date, 50 grants have been awarded totaling $9,947,500 across a variety of sectors.
The Paycheck Protection Program, designed to incentivize small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll, is no loger 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 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.
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.
Workforce Solutions and H-GAC published an unemployment insurance claims dashboard with claims sorted by age, race, gender, educational attainment, and industry. Claims can be viewed for the region, by county, zip code, school district, and by legislative districts.
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 Texas General Land Office announced the opening of its Competition Applications for the Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) program. More information is available in the Application Guide, and the Application Portal can be found online. H-GAC is available to provide data and technical assistance to its members on their applications and in coordinating the development of projects involving multiple jurisdictions. Contact Justin Bower at 713-499-6653 or if you have any questions or would like to request assistance.
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. Once the application period opens, applicants must use the new FEMA GO system to apply for funding. Legacy projects will continue to reside in eGrants. Learn more about the new grants award system on the FEMA website.
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.
Small businesses are eligible to apply for up to $100,000 in in seed funding for research and development that has a commercial potential. Rural and Community Development—which includes technologies to expand broadband, e-commerce innovations, systems that improve local government efficiency, initiatives for creative placemaking and more—is one of ten key topic areas. A Phase I application should concentrate on research that will demonstrate the scientific or technical feasibility of the approach or concept, describe the potential market for the innovation and will be a prerequisite to further fundinng support in Phase II.
View This Funding Opportunity
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 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.
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USDA staff will provide an overview of the funding opportunity announcement, eligibility and regulatory requirements, the application process, and guidance on how to submit a successful application. Participants can ask specific questions about the Community Connect program and the new application process.
Industrial Development Bonds, or Manufacturing Bonds, are the most frequently used bond tool for financing the manufacturing sector. Learn how IDBs act as a resilient economic driver by financing the manufacturing facilities that stabilize local economies during crises.
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Learn how remote working, entrepreneurship, and the gig economy are changing workforce and attraction strategies. Hear specific examples of organizations rethinking their strategies, and how small businesses in your community can positively affect strategies long-term.
As part of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance’s Net Inclusion conference, this one-hour webinar will feature both a presentation and question and answer portion.
Learn how communities are helping students get connected, assisting parents and caregivers gain the skills to help their children navigate online learning environments, and transitioning educators to online teaching.
This webinar will cover new terms/definitions unique to the new application process, documentation needed to support the application process, key details about spending Paycheck Protection Program funds, and what to expect after the forgiveness application is submitted.
Panelists will discuss: 1) barriers and disparities in rural, underserved, and tribal communities; 2) opportunities for economic development focusing on adaptation, sustainability, retention and growth in the COVID-19 environment; and 3) unprecedented demand for broadband and disparities that COVID-19 has revealed. Meeting ID: 160 394 2737 Passcode: 475654
View This Webinar
Learn how to prioritize health in community planning and development, from transportation and mobility to public spaces. Hear ideas for rethinking the approach to planning for and providing access to mobility and healthcare in the post-pandemic future.
Presenter Rebecca Schultz will walk participants through the EIDL Loan Application and the Main Street Lending Program. There will be a live Q&A and participants will receive updates about both programs as changes occur.
Learn how to work with a diverse set of funding sources – from the CARES act and public-private partnerships to family foundations and large philanthropic organizations – to build and grow an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in your region.
This webinar will provide a strategic overview of the SPRINT Challenge for prospective applicants. Attendance is encouraged for applicants new to EDA’s application procedures, or those who are unfamiliar with the requirements under EDA’s Economic Adjustment Assistance program, such as Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy alignment, grant rates, and economic distress.
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