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 Broadband Benefit Program Informational Webinar - April 27 
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is hosting a consumer-focused webinar on the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program on Tuesday, April 27 at 2 p.m. The EBB 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. The event will be streamed live on Registration is not required.  
The FCC is mobilizing organizations to help share important consumer information on the EBB program. The FCC will soon release an outreach partner toolkit, which will include flyers and posters, social media posts, a fact sheet, a slide deck, and consumer handouts in multiple languages. Learn more
Current Small Business Administration Programs for COVID-19 Relief  
  • Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) – The Small Business Administration (SBA) released details on application requirements, eligibility, and a program guide, available in English at or in Spanish at The application is expected to open by the end of April.   
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – Small business owners, including agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations can apply for EIDL until December 31, 2021.  
  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – The Small Business Administration is currently offering PPP loans until May 31, 2021. For business that have not received a PPP loan before, First Draw PPP loans are available. Certain businesses are eligible for a Second Draw PPP loan. Borrowers may also be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness. 
  • Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG) – Eligible applicants—including museums, theaters and other live venue operators or promotors—may qualify for SVO grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with a $10 million maximum amount available for a single grant award. Funds may be used for payroll expenses, rent, taxes, and worker protection expenditures, among other allowable costs. The application portal is currently down for maintenance.  
  • 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. 
Economic Development Administration Investment Priorities and Upcoming Funding
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided the Economic Development Administration (EDA) with $3 billion for Economic Adjustment Assistance grants, with 25% ($750 million) set aside for communities and states that have suffered economic injury due to job losses in the travel, tourism, or outdoor recreation sectors. EDA investment priorities have been revised and remain the only recent ARPA related update:  
Unemployment Rate Decreases Slightly in March 
The regional unemployment rate fell to 8% in March, down from 8.4% in February 2021 and up from 5.5% in March 2020. Employers in the Houston-Galveston region added 34,200 new jobs in March 2021, predominately in the Leisure and Hospitality, Professional and Business Services, and Construction Sectors. Parker Harvey, lead economist at Workforce Solutions believes we are “seeing the release of a lot of pent-up demand in the Leisure & Hospitality sector. During the height of the pandemic and after, when restaurants and bars were at half capacity, a lot of patrons stayed away, which kept employers from hiring additional staff. Now it looks like they’re bringing those workers back as more and more people feel safe enough to venture out.” Read the full report.  
Grant Funds for Community Health Workers for COVID Response and Resilient Communities  
The Center for Disease Control has announced availability of funds through the CARES Act of 2020 for training and deployment of community health workers and to strengthen community resilience to fight COVID-19. Grantees must use funding to train health workers to manage COVID-19 outbreaks and vaccine deployment. State, county, and local government entities are eligible to apply. Grants are at minimum $350,000 and maximum $5,000,000. Applications are due May 24. Learn more
Prepare for Library Funding with the Digital Equity Webinar Series 
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) allocated $200 million dollars to the Institute of Museum of Library Services, of which $8.3 million will go to Texas. ARPA also allocated $7.172 billion to the Emergency Connectivity Fund to ensure that people across the United States can access the internet. Libraries are eligible to apply for this funding and can be key partners in expanding access to internet service. As local governments await funding, now is the time to learn how libraries, nonprofits, and government leaders are planning to bridge the digital divide. A free weekly webinar series from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance will run until June 2.  
Winter Storm FEMA Individual Assistance Registration Period Extended 
At the request of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has extended the Individual Assistance registration period for Texans impacted by the winter storm. Individuals who live in qualifying counties now have until May 20, 2021 to submit damages and make claims to FEMA. Texans in the 126 counties that qualify for Individual Assistance can apply at
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 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. 

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
April 20, 22 | Restaurant Revitalization Fund | Small Business Administration 
Learn about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund program eligibility, funding amount, allowable use of funds and more. Join live at 2 p.m. on April 20 and 10 a.m. on April 22
April 21 | The Latest in Virtual Site Visits | Texas Economic Development Council  
The pandemic drove the rapid adoption of virtual site visits, which are now becoming a standard part of the site selection process for many companies and site selection consultants. Learn the five components of a comprehensive virtual site visit, the technologies enabling virtual site visits, and the requirements for hosting virtual site visits. 

As the region slowly regains pandemic job losses, Houston's innovation ecosystem is quietly thriving.
Josh Pherigo, the Partnership's Research Director of Data Analytics, will present an economic update and explain how Houston's innovation ecosystem helps spur growth in the broader economy.

April 28 | Local Government and State Digital Inclusion Funding, Offices, Coordination, and Policy | National Digital Inclusion Alliance  
The Net Inclusion Conference has been a staple in the Digital Inclusion community since 2016, bringing hundreds of practitioners, advocates, academics, internet service providers, and policymakers together to share their knowledge. 
April 28, 29 Broadband Infrastructure Webinar | National Telecommunications and Information Administration  
Learn more the Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants Program, established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The webinar will be offered on April 28 and 29.  
May 5 | Weaving Digital Inclusion into Existing Community and Government Programs | National Digital Inclusion Alliance 
The Net Inclusion Conference has been a staple in the Digital Inclusion community since 2016, bringing hundreds of practitioners, advocates, academics, internet service providers, and policymakers together to share their knowledge. 
This webinar will explore a cross-section of projects that have participated in the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank’s Advance Together program. The goal of the program is to help Texas communities build partnerships for equitable recovery. 
May 5, 6 | Connecting Minority Communities | National Telecommunications and Information Administration 
Learn more the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The webinar will offered on May 5 and 6. 
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

The Economic Recovery Resources - Weekly Update is published by the