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 Cheryl Mergo or call 713-993-4520 to discuss economic recovery needs you may have.
News and Updates
Submit Applications for EDA CARES Act Funding As Soon As Possible 
US Economic Development Administration (EDA) CARES Act funding is being obligated at a rate much faster than expected. To be competitive for CARES Act supplemental funds (EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance), the EDA highly recommends that applicants submit applications as soon as possible and no later than the unofficial deadline of October 1, 2020. Funds are available through the 2020 Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Notice of Funding Opportunity (see page 46). The Gulf Coast Economic Development District will provide technical assistance to applicants. E-mail Cheryl Mergo with any questions.
New EDA Funding Opportunity for STEM Talent Challenge
On August 27, the US Economic Development Administration (EDA)’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship released a notice of funding opportunity for the Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) Talent Challenge. Funding, up to $300,000 per applicant, is available for governmental and nonprofit entities working to implement STEM apprenticeship models in their regions, especially projects that will expand work-based learning for adults, increase regional innovation capacity, and expand diversity in STEM. Join an informational webinar on September 9. Proposals are due October 14, 2020.
Grants Available for Community Colleges to Respond to Challenges Associated with COVID-19 and Labor Market Demand
The US Department of Labor has made $40 million available for the Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants program to expand community colleges’ ability to meet the labor market demand for a skilled workforce. Grants can also help build the capacity of community colleges to address challenges associated with the coronavirus, such as expanding online and technology-enabled learning. The Department expects to fund approximately 8 to 16 grants of up to $2 million for single institutions and up to $5 million for consortium applicants. Applications are due October 8, 2020
Application Period Ends Friday for the City of Houston Small Business Economic Relief Program
Houston City Council approved $15 million for the City of Houston Small Business Economic Relief Program that will provide immediate and short-term grant assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Funded through the CARES Act, the grant program is designed to help the most vulnerable small businesses get up to $50,000 for operating expenses such as payroll, accounts payable, rent, mortgage, personal protective equipment for employees, and for marketing strategies. Local chambers of commerce are also eligible to apply. Applications are due September 4, 2020
Federal Funding for Rural Communities
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’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. 
 
USDA Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge Deadline September 10 
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking applications from organizations to provide planning and/or implementation technical assistance to rural communities to foster placemaking under the Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge. Funds can help enhance capacity for broadband access; preserve cultural and historic structures; and support the development of transportation, housing, and recreational spaces. The maximum grant award is $250,000, over two years, with a 15% cost share requirement. Applications are due September 10, 2020. For more information, contact Angela.Callie@usda.gov or call 202-568-9738.
EPA Water Infrastructure Financing Program 
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the FY2020 notice of funding opportunity for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program. This program accelerates investment in critical water infrastructure through long-term, low cost, supplemental credit assistance under customized terms to creditworthy water and wastewater projects of national and regional significance. Construction-ready projects in three areas: updating aging infrastructure; reducing exposure to contaminants; and water reuse and recycling will be prioritized. Letters of Interest from prospective borrowers are due October 15, 2020.
EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers grants for workforce training programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents in full-time jobs in the environmental field. The EPA encourages applicants to develop their curricula based on local labor market assessments and employers’ hiring needs, while also delivering comprehensive training that allows participants to secure multiple certifications. Read more about the grant here. The application deadline is September 22, 2020.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Assistance 
On August 4, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) posted the Fiscal Year 2020 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Notice of Funding Opportunities for 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. The application period is September 30, 2020 – January 20, 2021. Once the application period opens, grant 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.
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase I 
Small businesses are eligible to apply for up to $100,000 in seed funding from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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 10 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 be a prerequisite to further funding support in Phase II. Read more about project eligibility in the notice of funding opportunity. Applications are due October 22, 2020
Upcoming Economic Recovery Webinars
September 1 | CDBG CARES Act Webinar Series: Overview of Federal Register Notice (FR-6218-N-01) | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The CARES Act made $5 billion in Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) response funds available to CDBG grantees. This webinar will provide CDBG-CV grantees and subrecipients with important information on how these funds can be used. This session will provide an overview of the Federal Register Notice as well as instructions on how to get additional information and support.
 
From April 26 - June 29, the U.S. Census Bureau collected data for the first phase of the Small Business Pulse Survey. This survey measures the effect of changing economic conditions during the Coronavirus pandemic on our nation’s small businesses. Phase 2 data collection began August 9 and will continue through October. This presentation will demonstrate the data products available through the Small Business Pulse Survey.
 
This webinar will discuss the release of the local area data for the Mining, Construction, and Manufacturing sectors and some key findings for these sectors to date. Since these final sectors will mark the end of the Geographic Area Statistics releases, key finding for all sectors will also be included. The webinar will also provide tips for how to access these data on data.census.gov and how to use the materials on the Economic Census website.
 
September 9 | Leadership Series: Mending the Economy | Urban Land Institute Houston
The people of Houston and the surrounding region are trying to navigate both a pandemic and the ongoing turbulence in our energy market. A panel of experts will discuss how to begin mending the economy, especially focusing on talent attraction and retention to ensure competitiveness with other global cities.
 
September 14 | Cities and Businesses of Color: A Guide to Economic Growth and Recovery | International Economic Development Council
Cities and local governments are searching for ways to usher in equitable sustainable economic development; and one vital way is through growing businesses of color. In this webinar, Rodrick Miller, Chief Executive Officer of Invest Puerto Rico and author of "Cities and Businesses of Color: A Guide to Economic Growth," will offer real strategies and tips for cities to grow businesses of color. 

September 16 | Financial Resilience - Tools for Your Community | Federal Emergency Management Agency
In collaboration with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a webinar on how to be more financially prepared for emergencies or disasters. Presenters will share tools that can help individuals and communities increase economic resilience. In addition, check out these free resources that can help individuals financially prepare for the future: Emergency Financial First Aid KitFinancial Emergency Fact Sheet; Your Disaster Checklist.
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