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 Jillian Donatto or call 631-897-3817 to discuss economic recovery needs you may have.
News and Updates
Connected Nation Releases Policy Brief on Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction Phase I 
On December 7, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that millions of rural Americans will gain access to high-speed internet service through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction. In Texas, winning bidders will bring $362,662,934 in support of broadband to 310,962 unserved homes and businesses over the next 10 years. The FCC has released a full list of winning bidders and the number of homes and businesses to be served in Texas, organized by county. Connected Nation has released a Policy Brief to provide stakeholders with further details regarding the RDOF Phase I auction.  
Houston Launches Internet Voucher Program with CARES Act Funding
The City of Houston has partnered with Comcast to provide 5,000 internet vouchers to low-income Houstonians before December 20, 2020. Qualified applicants—including residents over the age of 65, residents with disabilities, households with children under 5, and youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not enrolled in school or in the workforce—may receive internet services for education, work, and personal health for one year. For more information and to apply visit
Nonprofits, Schools Can Apply For Free AT&T Wireless Internet Service and Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspots for At-Risk Students
Applications are being accepted for Connected Nation's AT&T K-12 Connected Learning Program, focused on closing the homework gap for at-risk students by providing free AT&T wireless internet service and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots to students. Nonprofit organizations and schools that serve at-risk youth are invited to apply. Applications are due January 11, 2021. Awardees will be announced in February 2021. Visit the application website for more eligibility information and answers to frequently asked questions.
Small Business Resources
News, funding opportunities, and other support for small businesses in the Houston-Galveston region. 
Upcoming Rural Small Business Grants 
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation will open two more rounds of the Rural Relief Small Business grant program for small businesses in a rural community facing immediate financial pressure due to COVID-19. Rural communities are defined as having a population of 50,000 or less. Applicants can be awarded between $5,000 and $20,000 for expenses including rent and utilities, payroll, debt payments, and other immediate operational costs. Upcoming application windows December 29, 2020 - January 5, 2021 and January 26 - February 2, 2021. 
IEDC Report for Economic Developers and Businesses on E-Commerce
new report from the International Economic Development Council provides economic developers and the businesses they serve an introduction to e-commerce. The report covers e-commerce platforms from small to large, banking and online payments, and digital marketing. Online retail sales can boost local economies amidst declining revenues or closings of brick-and-mortar stores due to COVID-19.
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.

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.

Community Connect Grants (December 23, 2020)
Funding up to $3 million to construct facilities used to deploy broadband services to residents, businesses, and essential community facilities (schools, libraries, fire stations etc.) or to cover the cost of providing broadband service to community facilities for two years.
Upcoming Economic Recovery Webinars
December 15 | Develop Your OZ Action Plan to Build or Strengthen Your Local OZ Ecosystem | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council and HUD wrap up the Bolstering Growth in Opportunity Zones webinar series for local economic development leaders and stakeholders in communities with designated Opportunity Zones (OZs).  

December 15, 16, 18 | PPP Loan Forgiveness Application | Gulf Coast Small Business Development Centers 
Learn about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness process and the requirements for receiving PPP loan forgiveness. Walk through the application and receive accounting tips for justifying your forgiveness. Register for December 15December 16, or December 18.  

December 16 | Financing Local Food Systems Development | Texas Economic Development Council and the Council of Development Finance Agencies
Explore the variety of financing tools for local food systems development and best practices for investing in resilient local food economies. Development finance experts from Texas (and beyond) will share details of various financing programs and project investments that have contributed to building a successful, local food system. 
December 16 Critical Connections: Economic Update | The Rural Broadband Association 
Join this webinar for an update on hot topics in rural broadband today, including an economic update with Sheldon Petersen, CEO of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. and the Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative. 
December 18 | Enhancing Fiscal Resilience in a Disruptive Environment | National Association of Counties 
Join for a discussion on different approaches to enhance resilience considering shifting public health, economic, budgetary and community dynamics – and how the difficult lessons of 2020 can help us navigate a still uncertain 2021 outlook. 
December 29 | Disaster Preparedness for Small Businesses | SCORE and the Small Business Administration 
SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will provide the key steps to building resiliency. Learn how to prepare for and bounce back quickly from disasters. 
January 28 – 29 | Business Expansion and Retention | International Economic Development Council  
This interactive course presents the core components of a business retention and expansion (BRE) program and why the concerns of local businesses need to be actively addressed. Participants will learn how a BRE program relates to attraction, workforce development, small business finance, and many other economic development activities. 
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