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
*The Economic Recovery Resources will be issued every other week beginning January 25 
Paycheck Protection Program Now Open to All Lenders and Borrowers
As of January 19, the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is open to all participating lenders. Borrowers who did not receive a loan before August 8, 2020 can apply for a First Draw PPP Loan. Eligible small businesses that previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and have used the full amount for authorized uses can apply for a maximum of $2 million in a Second Draw PPP Loan. Eligible businesses must have 300 or fewer employees and demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. The PPP will remain open for First and Second Draw loans until March 31, 2021 or until Congressionally appropriated funding is exhausted.

On January 27, the Governor’s Small Business Team will host a webinar for Texas small business owners to provide an update on the Paycheck Protection Program.
USDA Rural Community Development Initiative Grant Accepting Applications  
The Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) provides funding to help public bodies or nonprofit housing and community development organizations support housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas. Funds can be used for providing technical assistance to sub-grantees on strategic plan development, accessing alternative funding sources, and creating training tools, such as reference guides, videos, or workbooks. The minimum grant award is $50,000, and the maximum grant award is $250,000, with a matching fund requirement equal to the amount of the grant. Applications are due March 22.  
Workforce Solutions December 2020 Labor Market Analysis
The Houston-Galveston region's unemployment rate dropped from 8.9% in November to 8.0% in December 2020. The unemployment rate is more than double the rate for the same month in 2019 (3.6%). Employers in the Houston-Galveston region added 10,600 jobs in December 2020, but 276,405 people remain out of work and looking for a job. According to economist Parker Harvey, “we have seen steady growth throughout 2020 in the warehousing subsector, which is likely driven by the move to more online shopping.” Read the full report from Workforce Solutions.
Grant Funding for Public Lands Through Restoration & Resilience COVID Recovery Fund 
The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) allocated $128,000 in grant funding to support public lands that have been impacted by increased use during the COVID-19 pandemic through the Restoration & Resilience COVID Recovery Fund. Local governments, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions can apply for up to $2,500 to help mobilize volunteer networks, pay for maintenance projects or accessibility improvements, or conserve public lands. Applicants must clearly describe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the public land site. NEEF is accepting applications until June 2021, with application deadlines on February 1, April 1, and June 1.
LCRA Grants for Community Improving Capital Projects Open Until January 31  
The Community Development Partnership Program (CDPP) from the Lower Colorado River Authority is accepting applications for community improvement capital projects. Organizations in all or part of Austin, Colorado, Harris, Matagorda, Waller, and Wharton counties in the H-GAC region are eligible to apply. CDPP grants are awarded twice a year for capital projects for volunteer fire departments, emergency responders, cities and counties, schools, libraries, civic groups, museums, and other nonprofit organizations. The projects must benefit or be available to an entire community and must improve the value of a capital asset by building, renovating, or purchasing equipment. The application deadline is January 31Learn more
Small Business Resources
News, funding opportunities, and other support for small businesses in the Houston-Galveston region. 
Small Business Administration Launches COVID-19 Small Business Funding Portal 
The Small Business Administration provides a free list of thousands of private and public funding sources at the national, state, regional, and local levels designed to support small businesses in accessing capital to recover from COVID-19. The landing page displays programs that are available nationally; visitors can enter a ZIP code to see location-specific funding options. Explore the portal
Small Business Financing Opportunities through H-GALDC 
Serving as H-GAC’s small business financing arm, the Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation (H-GALDC) is able to help new or established small businesses access capital to purchase and develop real estate. With interest rates at all-time lows, now may be the time to move your business from a lease to a mortgage. H-GALDC also leverages funding from the Small Business Administration and the Economic Development Administration to offer a variety of loan products. Loans can range from $25,000 for working capital to over $5,000,000 for the purchase of land and new construction. For more information about H-GALDC and its resources, visit hgaldc.com or email loans@h-gac.com
Rural Small Business Grants Open January 26 
On January 26, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation will open another round of the Rural Relief Small Business grant program for small businesses in rural communities facing immediate financial pressure due to COVID-19. Rural communities are defined as having a population of 50,000 or fewer. 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 February 2
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.
*Rural communities may apply to receive targeted technical assistance from the Council of Development Finance Agencies Community Facilities Technical Assistance Program. Eligible communities must have a population of no more than 20,000 and have recently experienced a natural disaster.

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. 

For non-entitlement units of general local government, the Community Development Fund and Downtown Revitalization Program can finance public infrastructure, housing rehabilitation, and numerous other activities.

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
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.
Upcoming Economic Recovery Webinars
January 26, 29, February 4, 9, 16 | Fire Prevention and Safety (FP&S) Grants Webinar Series | Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 
Each webinar will provide an overview of the FY 2020 Fire Prevention & Safety grant program. Presentations will outline important information about cost share requirements, program priorities, eligible costs, how to navigate the grant application, and tips for preparing an application. 
 
January 26 | NTIA’s Broadband Leaders Programs Overview | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Hear an overview of National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) resources. This webinar is intended for Public Housing Authority (PHA) staff and community members responsible for ConnectHomeUSA program implementation. Community members from non-ConnectHomeUSA communities interested in bridging the digital divide or HUD-assisted housing programs are welcome to attend. 
 
January 27 | Information on the New Round of PPP Funding | Office of the Governor 
The Governor’s Small Business Team will host a webinar for Texas small business owners to provide an update on recovery resources through the U.S. Small Business Administration, specifically the Paycheck Protection Program. 
 
January 28 | Take It From Us: Using PPP Loans for 501(c)(6) Organizations | International Economic Development Council (IEDC)
The latest stimulus package includes new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with expanded eligibility to include 501(c)(6) nonprofits. Representatives from IEDC and OneColumbus will discuss the PPP, including their own lessons learned and keys to success from application to submitting for loan forgiveness. 
 
January 28 USDA-Rural Development Programs and Funds | Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)   
Join the FEMA Region II National Preparedness Division for a webinar about US Department of Agriculture- Rural Development (USDA) Programs. USDA-RD programs range from water, community facilities, industry, business, cooperatives and rural housing. Program eligibility criteria and the application process will be discussed. 
 
January 29, February 4 | State Revolving Fund (SRF) Informational Webinars | Texas Water Development Board (TWDB)
Join to learn about the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs and stay for a walk through of the accompanying Project Information Form, which is required when applying for this financial assistance.  
 
February 1 | The Minority Woman Entrepreneur: The Economic Gender Gap | International Economic Development Council (IEDC)
The fastest-growing segment of start-up companies are woman-owned businesses. However, there continues to be a gender gap in venture financing particularly for women of color. This webinar will delve into a candid discussion on this economic gender gap that minority women entrepreneurs face, which will result in best practices to help close the gap. 
 
February 3 | 10 Ready-Made Tips You Can Use to Prepare for Disaster | Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)  
Learn how you can effectively develop an individual emergency preparedness plan to ready yourself and your family. You’ll learn what notifications you need, emergency supplies to have, how to develop a family communications plan and prepare for the unique needs of your household, and more. 
 
February 9 FY 2021 Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) Funding Opportunity | U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Join USDA to learn about Fiscal Year 2021 Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) funding. This webinar will introduce attendees to the Innovation Center, provide an overview of Farm Bill changes to SECD and highlight the application requirements and process. 
 
February 9 Restoring Local Economies with Federal Partners | Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA)
The first installment of the 2021 CDFA Federal Financing Webinar Series will cover the various forms of financing programs available to state and local governments through Treasury, HUD, and EDA for restoring local economies.  
 
February 16 Rural Broadband and Telehealth Financing | Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA)
During this webinar, experts will explain how rural communities can embrace the challenges of financing high-speed internet for the economic and societal gains provided by broadband. 
 
February 17 Data as the Foundation for Broadband Planning | National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
Join BroadbandUSA to gain a fuller understanding of the US government’s datasets cataloguing broadband availability and how to use data to strengthen your broadband planning efforts. 
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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