Economic Recovery Resources - Biweekly 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 update to help our local partners stay on top of new funding opportunities. Subscribers to the monthly Regional Economic Development Digest will receive the 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
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Application Opens April 8
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program will make $15 billion in grants to shuttered venues. Eligible applicants—including museums, theaters and other live venue operators or promotors—may qualify for SVO grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with a $10 million maximum amount available for a single grant award. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applicants with up to 50 full-time employees. Funds may be used for payroll expenses, rent, taxes, and worker protection expenditures, among other allowable costs. The SBA will host a national informational webinar at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30Learn more.  
American Rescue Plan
On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, providing $1.9 trillion in relief funds for vaccine distribution, school reopenings, small business grants, tax credits, pension funds, unemployment support, health benefits, and homeowner assistance. For more information, read key takeaways from the American Rescue Plan or a title-by-title summary outline of the Act's provisions. On March 24, the Small Business Administration Houston District Office will host a Q&A on the American Rescue Plan.  

Additional Provisions for Existing Small Business Programs 
The American Rescue Plan provides additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries. The Small Business Administration is currently administering:  
  • An additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), with expanded eligibility to additional non-profits and digital news providers. The March 31 deadline remains.  
  • An additional $15 billion for Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance (EIDL) payments, including Supplemental Targeted EIDL advance payments for hardest hit businesses. 
  • An additional $1.25 billion to fund Shuttered Venue Operator Grants (SVOG), which will begin accepting applications in early April; eligible applicants can apply for both the SVOG and PPP. 
  • A new Community Navigator pilot program; $100 million in grants will go to eligible organizations supporting efforts to improve access to COVID–19 pandemic assistance programs and resources.  
 
Restaurant Revitalization Fund 
The American Rescue Plan allocates $28.6 billion to the new Restaurant Revitalization Fund to make grants of up to $5 million to restaurants in need, or $10 million to operations with multiple locations. Grants will be awarded on a first-come first-serve basis, with the amount based on any loss in revenue between 2020 and 2019. Funds may be used for a variety of eligible expenses including payroll, rent, and personal protective equipment (PPE) costs. Learn more
 
Additional Economic Development Administration Funding  
The American Rescue Plan provides the Economic Development Administration with $3 billion for Economic Adjustment Assistance grants, with 25% ($750 million) set aside for communities and states that have suffered economic injury due to lob losses in the travel, tourism, or outdoor recreation sectors. 
 
State Small Business Credit Initiative 
The American Rescue Plan provides $10 billion for the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to help states support small businesses as they recover from the pandemic. The SSBCI provides investment for state governments to set up programs that can leverage billions of dollars in private capital for low-interest loans and other investment to help entrepreneurs and the small business economy rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more
 
Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act  
With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act includes $4 billion for direct relief payments that will help farmers of color recover from the pandemic and pay off their USDA farm loan debts, along with $1 billion to be used in part for addressing the longstanding inequality in access to USDA programs. Learn more. 
Disaster Loan Assistance Available for Texas Businesses and Residents Affected by Severe Winter Storms 
SBA with red and blue box around letters
Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to Texas businesses and residents following President Biden’s major disaster declaration. The declaration covers 77 Texas counties affected by the severe winter storms that began on February 11, 2021. The U.S. Small Business Administration has opened a Virtual Business Recovery Center to provide personalized assistance to business owners. Contact the center at 800-659-2955 or FOCWAssistance@sba.gov. Customer service representatives are available to help business owners and individuals understand the disaster loan application process and complete their electronic loan application. Applications are due April 20 for physical damage and November 20 for economic injury. See details, terms, and eligibilityLearn more
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Application Period Announced for Hurricane Laura (DR-4572)
The Texas Division of Emergency Management announced the open application period for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program related to Hurricane Laura (FEMA-DR-4572) affecting Galveston, Jasper, Newton, and Orange counties. The application period will be open from May 10 through September 7. The initial available funding estimate provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is $4,837,202. Eligible subapplicants include: state agencies, local governments, tribal governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations. Projects from jurisdictions within the declared counties will receive top priority, and regional flood projects associated with the affected watersheds will receive additional consideration. Learn more
Small Business Resources
News, funding opportunities, and other support for small businesses in the Houston-Galveston region. 
Eligible Businesses May Apply for Paycheck Protection Program Until March 31
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help businesses keep their workforces employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. First draw and second draw loans are still available. The Houston District Office of the SBA has published a list of area lenders. Applications are due March 31Learn more
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. 
 
Grants and loans to construct, enlarge, or improve essential community facilities in rural areas.

Loans and grants to a non-profit entity or institution of higher education to establish revolving loan funds for rural micro-loan borrowers and micro entrepreneurs, or to provide training and technical assistance to micro entrepreneurs. 

Rural Energy for America Program (March 31, 2021
Guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. 

Funds community-based outreach education programs at land-grant colleges and universities to provide rural areas with information on health, wellness, and prevention. Supports initiatives to prevent and mitigate transmission of COVID-19, including telehealth and distance learning. 

Funding to help non-entitlement units or general local government finance public infrastructure, housing rehabilitation, and numerous other activities through the Community Development Fund and Downtown Revitalization Program.

Loan guarantees to lenders supporting rural businesses and agricultural producers to supplement their working capital to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.
Federal Funding for All Communities
U.S. Economic Development Administration grants for construction or non-construction projects that will retain or create jobs and/or generate private investment. 

Restoration & Resilience COVID Recovery Fund (April 1, 2021 and June 1, 2021
National Environmental Education Foundation grants for local governments, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions to help mobilize volunteer networks, pay for maintenance projects or accessibility improvements, or conserve public lands impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible applicants can apply for up to $2,500. 
Upcoming Economic Recovery Webinars
March 23 | Financing Disaster Resiliency in Rural Communities | Council of Development Finance Agencies 
Join the first installment of the CDFA Rural Development Finance Webinar Series to hear about a new technical assistance program from CDFA designed to support rural communities that have recently experienced a natural disaster. Experts will discuss the variety of financing tools available from federal, state, and local sources to encourage investment resilient infrastructure. 

March 23 Rural Resilience and Economic Development | National Association of Development Organizations 
Hear about structural challenges and opportunities in small towns and rural communities, trends in rural development, a prosperity community development framework, how to build entrepreneur-led ecosystems, and much more from the National Association of Development Organizations Research Foundation. 
 
March 23 | Shuttered Venue Operators Grant | Small Business Administration Houston District Office 
Based on guidelines issued to date, this webinar will provide an overview of the program, who can apply, and how organizations can prepare.  
 
March 24 | American Rescue Plan Q&A | Small Business Administration Houston District Office  
SBA Houston District Office leadership will answer questions about the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.   
 
March 24 | Economy Series: $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Impact on Houston's Economy | Greater Houston Partnership  
Patrick Jankowski, Senior Vice President of Research at the Greater Houston Partnership, will discuss the impact of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package on Houston's economy, the effect of higher oil prices on local employment and real estate, the status of vaccine rollout, and reopening of the economy. 
 
March 24 | SBA Disaster Assistance for Texas Winter Storm | Small Business Administration Houston District Office 
The Small Business Administration will provide an overview of low-interest federal disaster loans available to Texas businesses and residents affected by the severe winter storms. Join live at 3:30 p.m.  

April 21 | NTIA Grant Programs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 Part 2 | National Telecommunications and Information Administration 
Participants will learn more about the Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants, Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grants, and the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program. A recording of Part 1 is available here
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
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The Economic Recovery Resources - Weekly Update is published by the