In an effort to keep you updated on the funding opportunities currently being made available to Arkansas businesses in response to the COVID-19 situation, I am following up to provide you with additional information. At today’s press conference, Governor Hutchinson, along with Secretary Mike Preston and Secretary Cindy Gillespie, provided additional sources of funding and incentives that will be directed toward Arkansas businesses and non-profit organizations. Current funding opportunities and various incentives include:
· SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
Provides low- interest, long-term financing to businesses and non-profits of up to $2 million to pay fixed debts, payroll, etc. that otherwise could not be paid as a result of the negative impact of the COVID-19 situation. Businesses and/or non-profit organizations interested in applying for assistance can find more information at https://www.sba.gov/…/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-g… and can apply for assistance online at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance. Any questions about applying for assistance can be directed to (501) 324-7279.
· Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funding
HUD authorized Arkansas to do a “set aside” of its CDBG allotment for COVID-19 relief. The governor has authorized $12 million of federal funding relief to go out in the form of loans to the companies and non-profits impacted. Relief to hospitals and businesses essential to getting through this situation will be given first priority. Questions regarding funding through this program can be directed to COVID19.email@example.com or (501) 682-1121 or (800) ARKANSAS.
· Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund
$4 million from the Quick Action Closing Fund has been allocated to support a bridge-loan program providing loans up to $250,000 to assist mid-sized companies to avoid layoffs, make pay roll, provide working capital, and allow companies to stay in operation. Priority will be given to companies that are in the immediate supply chain for essential goods and services. More information can be found at https://www.arkansasedc.com/covid19 and any questions regarding this funding can be directed to COVID19.firstname.lastname@example.org (501) 682-1121 or (800) ARKANSAS.
Given the large number of Arkansas childcare centers that have closed as a result of COVID-19, several incentives were announced to assist childcare providers with staying operational.
· Enhanced reimbursements will be given to providers who stay open through March 27, 2020. An enhanced reimbursement rate for Childcare Development Block Grants of $10 for infants and toddlers, $7 for preschool children and $5 for school age children will be given.
· For childcare centers that are able to serve more, occupational capacity levels will be raised to allow them to bring in others and some education requirements will be waived for workers at the centers to allow them to bring in additional workers if needed. Expedited background checks will be provided for those bringing in additional workers, and the centers will be allowed to mix children ages 5-12 (rather than having to keep them in separate areas) during this time when setting up larger operations.
· The childcare voucher renewal process has been suspended for 30 days so parents won’t have to worry about losing that voucher during this emergency situation.
· SNAP food benefit program – a mass good cause exemption is provided for adults without dependents who have a work requirement so they will not lose their benefits due to non-reporting during April and May. Those that need SNAP benefits due to the emergency will be put in an expedited eligibility determination process.