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
SBA’s Community Navigators Pilot Program Announced
The Small Business Administration’s Community Navigator Pilot Program is open to applications from nonprofit organizations, state, local, and tribal governments, SBA resource partners, and other organizations. Selected partners will engage in targeted outreach to small businesses in underserved communities—including micro and rural businesses, with emphasis on those owned by women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals—to help them get the resources and support they need to get back on track as the economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Competitive grant awards will range from $1 million to $5 million. Applications are due July 12, 2021.
FEMA’s COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance: All-Hazards Incident Response and Recovery
As our nation entered the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the “COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance: All-Hazards Incident Response and Recovery” to help emergency managers best prepare for disasters while continuing to respond to and recover from COVID-19. The guidance can also be used by private sector and non-governmental organizations to understand governments’ planning and readiness efforts.

The updated document takes an all-hazards approach and builds on guidance provided in last year’s "COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season."
Public Comment Requested on State Small Business Credit Initiative  
The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced a Request for Information (RFI) on the State Small Business Credit Initiative. Treasury invites the public to comment on the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program design and implementation to support new and existing small businesses. Responses may be used by Treasury to assist in developing program design and guidance. Responses may also be used to inform Treasury's allocation of technical assistance funding to states, territories, Tribal governments, the Minority Business Development Agency, and programs implemented directly by Treasury. Responses are due on June 4.
Current Small Business Administration Programs for COVID-19 Relief  
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – Small business owners, including agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations can apply for loans until December 31.  
  • Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) – The SBA is accepting applications. Funds may be used for payroll expenses, rent, taxes, and worker protection expenditures, among other allowable costs.   
  • Cross-Program Eligibility – The Small Business Administration has put together a chart depicting which applicants can apply for one or more of the available COVID-19 relief programs. 
April 2021 Gulf Coast Labor Market Analysis from Workforce Solutions 
Not seasonally adjusted unemployment dropped nearly a point to 7.1% in April. The regional rate is still higher than both the statewide (6.3%) and U.S. (5.7%) unemployment rates. The regional rate has fallen by nearly half since it peaked in April 2020 at 14.3%. Effective June 26, Texans will no longer receive unemployment compensation related to the pandemic, including the additional $300 weekly supplement.
In April, employers hired 18,700 people, primarily in the Leisure & Hospitality sector as restaurants and bars opened to full capacity and entertainment and recreation businesses staff up in expectation of a robust summer season. The Professional and Business Services sector is also roaring back to life, posting the largest-ever gain in the month of April with 6,900 new hires.
Read the full report.
Fort Bend County Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program 
The Fort Bend County Commissioners Court approved a small business emergency grant program to assist Fort Bend County businesses impacted by COVID-19. Grant applications will remain open until funds are exhausted. Grants are available between $5,000 and $25,000—eligibility is based on annual revenue in 2020. Learn more.
Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds
Through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), metropolitan cities, counties, and states are entitled to a federal grant from Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds through the U.S. Treasury. Jurisdictions eligible to receive funding directly from Treasury can submit a request for funding. Local governments deemed non-entitlement entities will receive the funds through the state government—the Treasury has published further guidance on distributions to non-entitlement units of government. On May 20, The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that it has distributed $105.3 billion to more than 1,500 recipients through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Learn more
Help Promote the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to Eligible Households
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is mobilizing organizations to help share important consumer information on the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. The FCC has released an outreach partner toolkit with flyers and posters, social media posts, a fact sheet, a slide deck, and consumer handouts in multiple languages.

The EBB program is a temporary program that provides a discount of up to $50/month on a qualifying households’ internet bill. For eligible households there is the potential for a discount of up to $100 towards the purchase of a tablet, laptop or desktop computer from a participating provider. Eligible households can enroll to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider by visiting
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. 

Grants to help provide educational and medical services in rural areas through telecommunications and internet services investment.  

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. 

Grant awards for surface transportation infrastructure projects, including capital investments or planning projects, that will have a significant local or regional impact.  
Upcoming Economic Recovery Webinars
June 3 | Understanding Eligible Expenses of the Fiscal Recovery Fund: Revenue Loss | National Association of Counties  
Under the American Rescue Plan Act, counties may use recovery funds for the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to COVID-19. Join for a discussion on how to calculate your county’s revenue loss, how this revenue recoupment can be invested, and offer feedback on the U.S. Treasury’s Interim Final Rule related to this provision. 
June 4 | Breaking Down ARPA: Understanding the Funding Available to Your County | National Association of Counties 
Join for an overview of the new interactive tool to help counties assess potential funding streams established by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) so they can better use their direct allocation. 
June 10 | Restart Houston: Sales Strategies for Your Business Post-COVID | Greater Houston Partnership 
Speakers will share business-to-businesses and business-to-consumer selling and marketing techniques that worked for them over the past year and how they pivoted during COVID-19.  
June 10-11 | Counties at Work Virtual Summit | National Association of Counties 
With automation, shifting demographics, the impacts of COVID-19 and increased remote work opportunities, America’s counties are planning for evolving workforce and industry needs. Join NACo for a free, two-day online event that will feature experts and effective county solutions to workforce issues. 
July 29 Broadband Solutions for Rural and Underserved Communities | International Economic Development Council 
Changing workplace and home dynamics due to the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the need for reliable broadband for communities and magnified the digital divide between various populations and rural communities. Join IEDC for this webinar on how communities can best incorporate broadband into underserved communities and hear from economic development professionals who are leading broadband initiatives. 
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