Economic Recovery Resources - Biweekly Update
The Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Gulf Coast Economic Development District issue this Economic Recovery Resources Biweekly Update to help our local partners secure the resources they need to recover from economic disruption. Subscribers to the monthly Regional Economic Development Digest will receive the update automatically.

Please email Jillian Donatto or call 631-897-3817 to discuss economic recovery needs you may have.
News and Updates
New $30 Million Harris County Small Business Recovery Program  
Houston area small businesses still recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may soon apply for funding through a new Harris County initiative. The grant program will disburse awards of between $5,000 and $25,000 to up to 2,000 Harris County businesses for COVID relief. Applicants will need to be businesses registered in Harris County with 30 or fewer employees. Applicants must have annual revenue of less than $500,000 in 2019 and 2020, and the business must have been in operation before March 11, 2020. The application period will be two weeks, beginning September 20. The new application website will be linked from the county website
$500 Million in Emergency Rural Health Care Funding Available Through American Rescue Plan 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making up to $500 million available in grants to help rural health care facilities, tribes, and communities expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, health care services, and nutrition assistance. These funds may be used to increase vaccine distribution and telehealth capabilities; purchase medical supplies; replace revenue lost during the pandemic; build structures for health care services; and support operations expenses associated with food banks and food distribution facilities. Applicants may apply for two types of assistance: Recovery Grants and Impact Grants. Recovery Grant applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are expended. Impact Grant applications must be submitted to your local USDA Rural Development State Office by 4 p.m. on October 12. Learn more.  
July 2021 Gulf Coast Labor Report from Workforce Solutions 
The Houston region saw a net loss of 7,100 jobs in July. The largest loss of jobs occurred in the Government sector, mostly in the public education field as teachers and support staff entered their seasonal furlough. But the loss of 18,600 jobs in Government was tempered by gains in Professional & Business services (+7,500 jobs) and Manufacturing (+3,700 jobs). The regional unemployment rate for July was 6.8%, down from 7.4% in June but higher than both the national rate (5.7%) and the statewide rate (6.0%). Overall, the Houston area has regained roughly 50% of the jobs lost in March and July 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full report.  
Direct Loan Forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program 
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s new Paycheck Protection Program Direct Forgiveness Portal streamlines applications for loans $150,000 or less for over 6.5 million businesses. The new forgiveness platform began accepting applications from borrowers on August 4. Lenders must opt-in to this program through Borrowers that need assistance or have questions should call 877-552-2692, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Or attend an upcoming live webinar and Q&A session on August 26 at 1:30 p.m. or September 2 at 1:30 p.m.  
Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities NOFO Released 
The Federal Emergency Management Agency released the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Notice of Funding Opportunity on August 9. The application period to apply for fiscal year 2021 BRIC funding will open on September 30, 2021 and close at 2 p.m. on January 28, 2022. The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) will apply on behalf of the State of Texas. Communities must submit their sub-applications to TDEM for review. Learn 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.  
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. 

Connecting Minority Communities Program (December 1, 2021)  
National Telecommunications and Information Administration grants to eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and consortia led by an HBCU, TCU, or MSI that also include a minority business enterprise or tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization to expand broadband access. 

Build Back Better Regional Challenge (Phase 1: October 19, 2021 | Phase 2: March 15, 2022
The U.S. Economic Development Administration investments in regional coalitions to implement a collection of 3 to 8 distinct but related projects, in coordination with industry and community partners, and aligned around a holistic vision to build and scale a strategic industry cluster. 

Statewide Planning, Research & Networks (October 31, 2021, applications reviewed on a rolling basis) 
U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) funding for state planning efforts and grants to build Communities of Practice to extend technical assistance to support EDA’s work with grantees. 

Good Jobs Challenge (January 26, 2022
U.S. Economic Development Administration grants to develop and strengthen regional workforce training systems and sector-based partnerships with a focus on programs for women, people of color, and historically underserved communities. 
Economic Adjustment Assistance (March 15, 2022, applications reviewed on a rolling basis)  
U.S. Economic Development Administration grants to help communities plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.  

Indigenous Communities (March 15, 2022, applications reviewed on a rolling basis
U.S. Economic Development Administration will work with Tribal Governments and Indigenous communities to develop and execute economic development projects they need to recover from the pandemic and build economies for the future.  
Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation (March 15, 2022, applications reviewed on a rolling basis
U.S. Economic Development Administration investments to revitalize the hard-hit travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries and accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on these sectors. 
Upcoming Economic Recovery Webinars
August 25 | Economy Series: Houston Facts | Greater Houston Partnership 
Join to hear members of the Greater Houston Partnership’s research team put their newest data in the context of the pandemic, economic downturn, and other current events. 
August 26 | SBA Celebrates Rural Entrepreneurship |Small Business Administration 
Join the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for an online panel discussion with rural, small businesses as they share their small business stories and how they utilized SBA and U.S. Department of Agriculture economic aid to pivot during the pandemic. 
In this Leading Local webinar, the Institute for Local Government will explore the anxiety that local leaders and staff may be feeling about evolving COVID re-opening guidance and discuss strategies to balance self-care considerations with shifting state and federal requirements. 
August 27 | Direct Forgiveness Through the SBA: Loans for $150,000 or Less | Small Business Administration 
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will now allow certain businesses with PPP loans of $150,000 or less to apply directly through a new SBA portal for the forgiveness of their loan. The SBA will discuss who is eligible, what information is needed, and how to get help with your application.  
September 14 The Federal Role in Financing Broadband | Council of Development Finance Agencies 
In this installment of the Council of Development Finance Agencies Federal Financing Webinar Series, experts will discuss how federal financing tools can be used to fund 5G broadband networks. 
This webinar will look at different strategies for creating themed virtual tours to attract investment, support workforce attraction, profile target industry sectors, attract film and video production, and highlight tourism in your region. 
September 23 | Future of Work, Communities of Color, and COVID-19 | International Economic Development Council  
Learn about the International Economic Development Council’s new report on preparing communities of color for the future of work as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Inclusive strategies for upskilling/reskilling workers and fostering entrepreneurship will be discussed. 
September 29 Leveraging Federal COVID-19 Relief Funds for Lasting Impact | Texas Economic Development Council 
This webinar will share ideas for optimizing federal funding to achieve economic development aspirations around business growth, infrastructure, workforce alignment, and other critical topics. The session will provide examples of ways to deploy American Rescue Plan Act funds to generate long-term value for your community. 
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.

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