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
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, focusing 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.
Update on State and Federal Benefits from the Texas Workforce Commission
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), created through the federal CARES Act as temporary assistance programs, will end on December 26, 2020. The State of Texas unemployment insurance and State Extended Benefits will continue after CARES Act funding expires for eligible claimants. For more information on eligibility requirements, available benefits and COVID-19 unemployment programs, visit COVID-19 Resources for Employers or COVID-19 Resources for Job Seekers on the Texas Workforce Commission website. The Texas Tribune has published a comprehensive guide to navigating unemployment benefits in Texas.
Small Business Resources
News, funding opportunities, and other support for small businesses in the Houston-Galveston region. 
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.
SCORE Houston Events and Workshops Continue Into 2021
Houston's local SCORE chapter is offering free virtual events and workshops for small businesses and small business support organizations. In December, they will offer workshops on Planning for the Disaster, Business Growth Strategies, Planning for Recovery and SBA disaster loans, and much more.
Small Business Development Centers Offer Variety of Webinars for Small Business Owners
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; Colonia Fund: Construction Program; 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.

Investments of up to $750,000 over 18 months and $500,000 over 12 months in organizations working to rapidly address the economic, health, and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic through entrepreneurship and innovation.

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 7-11 | The 2021 Legislative Session Virtual Symposium | The Texas Tribune
The Texas Tribune’s weeklong virtual symposium will preview the top legislative priorities for the 2021 legislative session, including the impact of COVID-19 on the state budget and how redistricting will affect the state’s political future.

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 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 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.
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