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
Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants Available in Texas
The Emergency Community Water Assistance program helps eligible rural communities prepare for or recover from an emergency that threatens the availability of safe, reliable drinking water. As Texas starts the recovery process after Winter Storm Uri, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development will make grants of up to $150,000 to construct waterline extensions, repair breaks or leaks in existing water distribution lines, and address related maintenance necessary to replenish the water supply. Grants up to $1,000,000 may be awarded to construct a water source, intake, or treatment facility. Applications for this program are accepted year-round online. 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 as a result of President Biden’s major disaster declaration. The declaration covers 77 Texas counties as a result of 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
Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund
The Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund, established by the City of Houston and Harris County and overseen and administered by United Way of Greater Houston and the Greater Houston Community Foundation, will make grants to local nonprofits to help with plumbing and home repairs, temporary housing, and other basic needs relief. The Fund is dedicated to filling the gaps that may not be met by other local and federal efforts. For those seeking assistance for plumbing and home repairs, text HOUSTONFREEZE to 898211 to be notified when additional information on funding eligibility and criteria is available. Learn more
Winter Storm Recovery Funds for Texas Agricultural Producers
The Re-Plant Texas campaign is pooling funds available to farmers at low or no interest to support re-planting crops and re-starting food systems damaged by Winter Storm Uri. Farms in need of help should fill out a brief application form describing their pressing needs and the amount of money they need to restart their operations. Re-Plant Texas aims to connect producers with financial resources that fit their situations; depending on the nature and extent of their losses, some will be a good fit for philanthropic dollars or micro loans, while others will need funds from the Small Business Administration or other federal programs. 
FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Established
On February 25, the Federal Communications Commission established the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a $3.2 billion federal initiative to provide qualifying households with a discount (up to $50 per month) on internet bills and a one-time discount (up to $100) on a computer or tablet. The program was designed to lower the cost of high-speed internet service for those struggling to get the connectivity they need during the ongoing pandemic. The FCC has not established a start date for consumer enrollment. Please check www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit for the latest information.
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 (HMGP) related to Hurricane Laura (FEMA-DR-4572) affecting Galveston, Jasper, Newton, and Orange counties. The application period will be open from May 10, 2021, through September 7, 2021. 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. 
FedEx Small Business Grant Contest Open Until March 9
The 9th annual FedEx Small Business Grant Contest returned on February 16. Small business can apply to win up to $50,000 to help their businesses recover and grow. Past winners have used funds to develop websites, purchase new equipment, hire employees, and expand into new spaces. Learn more about contest entry and prizes. Entries close March 9
Paycheck Protection Program Window for Smallest Businesses Closes March 9, All Eligible Businesses May Still Apply Until March 31
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently made changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to ensure America’s smallest businesses get exclusive access. Through March 9 the SBA will only accept PPP applications from businesses with fewer than 20 employees. On March 10, the program opens to all eligible entities; businesses with fewer than 20 employees may still apply. 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
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
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. 

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. 

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. 

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 10 | EIDL Overview, Reconsiderations, and Targeted Advance Grant | Small Business Administration 
Join the Small Business Administration to learn the basics of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, how to apply, steps for reconsideration, and who is eligible for a targeted advance grant. Join the event live at 2 p.m. 
  
Find out if you are eligible for a First or Second Draw Paycheck Protection Program loan and learn how to calculate loan amounts and how to apply. Join the event live at 2 p.m. 
  
March 11 SBA Disaster Assistance for Texas Winter Storm | Small Business Administration 
Join the Small Business Administration to learn about low-interest federal disaster loans available to Texas businesses and residents affected by the Severe Winter Storms. Join the event live at 3:30 p.m. 
  
March 12 | PPP Loan Forgiveness Overview and Q&A | Small Business Administration 
The Small Business Administration will share helpful tips to consider when completing the Loan Forgiveness applications for the Paycheck Protection Program. Q&A will follow the live presentation at 1 p.m. 
  
March 17 | NTIA Grant Programs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 | National Telecommunications and Information Administration 
In late 2020, Congress passed the year-end omnibus legislation that included several broadband and connectivity expansion bills. Join NTIA staff for an overview of the new NTIA grant programs, including the Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants and the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program. 
  
March 22 | Workforce Development, Energy, and Forestry | National Association of Development Organizations 
This event will focus on using the WealthWorks rural wealth creation framework in community and economic development efforts that address rural workforce development, energy, and forestry. Join this rural wealth creation peer learning event to share information and build relationships with others. 
  
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. 
  
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. Part 1 will be March 17. 
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
713-627-3200

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