According to the Forgivable Advance for Small Business Assistance’s application form, there were two application windows when businesses could apply: the first ran from Jan. 4 until Jan. 15, and the second ran from Jan. 15 until Feb. 1. In addition, there may be more opportunities to apply in the future, depending on the funding available.
“Currently in round one we received 22 applications, so we have 22 businesses in Greene that have applied,” Simmons said. “Round two is contingent upon funding being available. We would definitely consider applying for more funding, because the state is going to open up another round, and if the businesses are going to need it, and we can clearly illustrate this as a need, then we would apply for more so we could assist them.”
Businesses that received funding from the grant could use the money for several things.
“FASBA funds can also be used to pay for the following eligible expenses: payroll, rent/mortgage, utilities (gas, phone, etc.), supplies (up to 90 days), PPE, insurance, accounting, legal, advertising and can reimburse eligible costs incurred to ‘prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus’,” the Greene County Department of Planning & Community Development said in a Facebook post.
Last January, businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic had the opportunity to apply for a grant from the FASBA’s fund. According to the Greene County Business page, Greene County received $612,500 in funding for the program. The funds came from the Community Development Block Grant which received $5 billion from the CARES Act that Congress passed in March. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is the department responsible for the distribution of the funds from the CDBG, 70% of the money must be allotted towards helping people with a salary classified as low to moderate income.
This requirement was reflected in the eligibility standards for FASBA funds. According to Crystal Simmons, director of the Community Development Block Grant program in Greene County, the funds were available to businesses that earn less than $1 million in revenue, employ fewer than 100 people and either created or retained a job for an employee whose salary is classified as low to moderate income by the Department of Housing and Development.
“The purpose of this funding is to keep businesses open so that employees keep their jobs. So the end use is to retain or create a position for a low to moderate income person that’s based on HUD income limits,” Simmons said. “So if they have an employee that’s working there that’s low income, and they are going to have to close their doors, or they are going to have to lay off a group of people, then they can apply for this grant and keep an employee, at least one employee, for $50,000.”
Although the money could be used for a variety of things, there are stipulations. The money could not be used to pay for something covered by a different grant.
“Say for instance they received money from the paycheck protection program for payroll, if they got $10,000, then they could get $40,000 from us for payroll, or they could get $50,000 for mortgage assistance or utilities or something else,” Simmons said. “[However], you couldn’t duplicate it. So you couldn’t get $50,000 from the Payroll Protection Program and $50,000 from us, you’d have to use ours for something different.”
Even if a business isn’t eligible for the FASBA program, Simmons says that it should still reach out to the Greene County Department of Community Development and planning.
“If you are not eligible for this grant we have an emergency loan program for businesses specifically during covid, it is a consolidation loan at a 2% interest rate for a 15-year term, and that’s a pretty phenomenal rate. We are not a competitive lender, we are just trying to keep the business’s doors open,” Simmons said. “What I would add is if a business needs assistance, please reach out to us, we can get them in touch with any of our partners and anyone else. If we can’t help them, then there is probably someone who could.”