Economic Recovery Resources - Weekly Update
The Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Gulf Coast Economic Development District stand ready to assist the 13-county region in pursuing strategies to restore local economies. We will be issuing this Economic Recovery Resources - Weekly Update to help our local partners stay on top of new funding opportunities. Subscribers to the monthly Regional Economic Development Digest will receive the weekly update automatically. We hope to make it easier for you to secure the resources you need to recover quickly.

Please email Jillian Donatto or call 631-897-3817 to discuss economic recovery needs you may have.
News and Updates
September 2020 Gulf Coast Labor Market Analysis
High level indicators of economic recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Texas and the Gulf Coast Region diverged from national trends in September. The Houston-Galveston region’s September not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate rose to 9.6% from 8.1% in August. The statewide unemployment rate also rose from 7% to 8.3%, while nationally the rate fell from 8.5% to 7.7%. The Houston-Galveston region’s unemployment figure represents 335,536 people looking for a new job. Despite the rise in unemployment, the Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area Total Nonfarm (seasonally adjusted) employment was up 20,300 jobs over the month, or 0.7 percent. Read the full report.

To help people get back to work, Workforce Solutions is expanding their Hiring Red, White & You! virtual event. Thursday, November 5, will be exclusively for veterans and military families. Beginning Friday, November 6, and continuing through the weekend, the event opens to all job candidates. 
Small Business Resources

Relevant news, funding opportunities, and other support for small businesses in the Houston-Galveston region. 
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Grants Up to $15,000 Available Through HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program
The HartBeat of Main Street Grant 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, and 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 five days of opening in early August. Applications are due October 29, 2020.
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Applications Open for LISC Small Business Relief Grants
As of October 26, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation has opened 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. 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 November 2, 2020. See more grant information and frequently asked questions
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Small Business Development Centers Offer Variety of Webinars for Small Business Owners
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.  
Federal Funding for Rural Communities
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide organizes funding opportunities identified in the CARES Act and other federal resources that can help support rural America. 
Federal Funding for All Communities
For construction or non-construction projects that prepare for or respond to economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, create jobs, and/or generate private investment.

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.

Community Connect Grants (December 23, 2020)
Funding up to $3 million 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 to community facilities for two years.

The Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program and the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation program provide states, local communities, tribes, and territories funding for eligible mitigation activities.
Non-Federal Funding Opportunities
Grants available to educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, Chambers of Commerce, and programs conducted by municipal, county, state or federal government entities to be dedicated towards community development, education, and safety initiatives. Grant amount requested must be $5,000 or more.
Upcoming Economic Recovery Webinars
October 27 | Funding Your Entrepreneurial Ecosystem | International Economic Development Council
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. 

October 28, 30 | Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness | Small Business Development Center Texas Gulf Coast Network
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.

October 28 | Building Resilience through Innovation: EDA’s SPRINT Challenge | U.S. Economic Development Administration
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.

This Governor’s Small Business Webinar will offer guidance on developing effective ecommerce and social media strategies. This webinar will help businesses improve their current online presence or start an online business.

October 29 | Reframe, Build, Plan: Restoring America's Local Food Systems | Council of Development Finance Agencies
Recent CDFA research has demonstrated the need to reframe food systems development as infrastructure and economic development; build effective relationships and partnerships across the entire food system; and plan for strategic food systems financing. Join to learn more about this framework to restore local food systems in a post-pandemic context.

October 29 | GCTC Smart Regions Collaborative: Innovation, Recovery, & Resilience Virtual Workshop | Global City Teams Challenge Smart Regions Collaborative, the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, and the National Association of Regional Councils
Join discussions about best practices in smart regions investments and partnerships, regional data sharing, unique issues facing rural areas, navigating equity issues during a disaster, education and health response to disasters, and a look at a more resilient future post-pandemic that smart regions projects can help us achieve.

October 29 | Hazard Mitigation Assistance Cost Share Webinar | Federal Emergency Management Agency
Learn about the cost share requirements and eligible sources of funding for HMA grants programs. This event will cover the cost share requirements for the following HMA grant programs: Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA), Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), and Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC).

Learn how to strategically pivot a business to balance risk and experimentation, optimize existing processes and operations, and develop business implementation plans to protect viability.

November 3 | Using CDBG-CV to Address Housing Instability | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
This webinar will provide an overview of Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) with a particular emphasis on eligible housing related activities. CDBG-CV grantees and subrecipients are encouraged to attend this discussion of how CDBG-CV funds and other resources can be used to address current housing needs.

Learn how to re-strategize your business planning to maintain an adequate level of cash on hand and get suppliers and vendors to make their payments amidst unsure global supply chains and a global pandemic.

November 9-13 | 2020 Virtual National Summit: Financing Our COVID Recovery | Council of Development Finance Agencies
The CDFA Virtual National Summit brings together leaders and experts in the development finance industry to discuss best practices, trends, and financing solutions in the face of COVID-19.

November 18 | How Broadband Enhances Local Economies | Broadband USA
While communities adapt to the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, economic development in rural America has been hard hit, the difficulty exacerbated by the lack of broadband. Join to hear how communities and broadband providers are working together to expand broadband access to residents and businesses to build resilient economies.

This 30-minute workshop covers best practices for retailers to combat the loss of foot traffic and drive online sales. Retail experts will offer advice for improving cash flow, inventory management, boosting online sales, and taking care of your store and yourself.
Partner Resources
Visit the GCEDD website for information and links to local, regional, and partner organizations that have additional resources and information on economic recovery. A select list is presented below.

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.

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 trainings, federal agency COVID-19 resources, national partner organizations response resources, Office of Management and Budget guidance, state-by-state workforce guidelines, and philanthropic resources for communities.

The International Economic Development Council Coronavirus Response webpage provides information on the IEDC's COVID-19 webinar series and frequently updated situational reports.

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. 
Gulf Coast Economic Development District

The Economic Recovery Resources - Weekly Update is published by the