Harrisburg City Council members approved spending $500,000 toward an emergency grant assistance program Tuesday in partnership with Impact Harrisburg that will support a handful of licensed small businesses within the city’s limits affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
With already 300-plus small businesses applying, the city’s solicitor said he thinks there will be another round in the future because the demand for help is so great. The unanimous vote was cast during city council’s virtual legislative session. Councilman Westburn Majors was absent.
According to the application, which can be found on Impact Harrisburg’s website, “The Neighborhood Business Stabilization Program” is a joint initiative of Impact Harrisburg and the City of Harrisburg. Through this program, grants of up to $10,000 will be offered to neighborhood businesses who are suffering financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We are going to be out looking for more money from more sources and then back to the city and back to Impact Harrisburg itself to return to talk about further funding,” Neil Grover said. “We just opened the applications on Friday and they’re still coming in. There’s 300 plus already. Not all of them are eligible but a significant number is, and most are asking for the full $10,000.”
The requests are approaching $2 million-plus for small business owners who are eligible for assistance, Grover said.
Grants funds can be spent on rental, or mortgage payments, utilities, payroll, real estate taxes, and outstanding vendor invoices.
It is currently being funded by $1 million between Impact Harrisburg and the city with each entity contributing $500,000. Small business applicants must show proof that they have under $1 million in most recently reported annual gross revenue.
Half of the grant funds will be awarded to businesses with annual gross revenue of $500,000 or less; have a demonstrated or projected reduction in monthly revenue of more than 25 percent as a result of COVID-19; and can demonstrate that grant funds will be used in promoting the interests of this program and of their business, according to Impact Harrisburg.
“I’m just glad we put a clause in there to maintain that they utilize the money as they indicate in the applications,” President Wanda Williams said.
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