Small businesses and artists in Salt Lake City that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply for funding from a pool of $2 million as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, which will cause a collective sigh of relief. The funds come from the $85 million the city got through the legislation in October, which was distributed by Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall to various programmes and needs.
Mendenhall allocated $4 million to a community grant programme fund, which was then split into lump sums of $2 million and given to the Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development and the Salt Lake City Department of Community and Neighborhoods Housing Stability Division, respectively, according to Cathie Rigby, Salt Lake City’s American Rescue Plan Act programme manager.
According to Katie Matheson, marketing and research manager for the city’s Department of Economic Development, Mendenhall intends to reveal the specifics of how the $2 million that went to the Housing Stability Division would be used next week.
“Salt Lake City used a community involvement process, including surveys, public comments in meetings, and suggestions from the community to select the use for this money,” Rigby said. “Our department also met with a number of community organisations who provided insight into the communities they serve, and we incorporated their feedback to design this programme,” the statement continued.
Who may submit an application?
Starting on September 1, anybody can submit an application for the $2 million in funding that the Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development is directing at small businesses, home-based enterprises, food trucks, artists, and musicians. The following criteria established by the department must be satisfied by applicants in order to be considered for grants:
- The business is physically situated, has a business licence, and operated before January 1, 2020, in Salt Lake City.
- A business licence is not necessary if you are a home-based business owner, artist, or musician.
- Less than 50 full-time employees work for the company.
- Businesses can demonstrate that the COVID-19 pandemic or related shutdowns had a detrimental impact.
- There are no ongoing disputes or legal actions involving the company.
- Using federal monies for business is not halted or limited.
- A subsidiary of a larger firm that runs a business is not a franchise.
- Business is neither a global corporation nor a publicly traded company.
- It’s not a chain business (unless most locations are in Salt Lake City)
- A city employee, elected official, or appointed official does not own the business.
These standards have several exceptions, which are listed here.
How much money can be requested, and how will it be used?
According to the agency, nonprofit organisations that conduct COVID-19 rehabilitation programming for small companies or the arts can apply for grants of up to $100,000, while small enterprises, artists, artisans, and musicians can apply for grants of up to $50,000. The grant money may be put to the following uses:
- Wages (payroll and benefits)
- the price of keeping employees (bonuses and retention pay have additional requirements)
- utilities, rent, or a mortgage
- Procedures for preventing COVID-19 (better cleaning, dividers and barriers, COVID-19 immunizations)
- individual business counselling or other services related to business planning
- Added operational expenses
You can find here a list of grant money ineligibilities as well as acceptable uses that only apply to enterprises that are disproportionately impacted.
According to Rigby, the cash was split between two distinct departments to ensure that it could support all facets of the community. No one department services the entire town, according to Rigby. She added that in order to determine the best way to distribute the funds, the Department of Economic Development solicited input from historically neglected communities.
They were concerned, among other things, that there wasn’t enough lead time. “We announce things and don’t typically leave enough time for these communities to hear about them, to pull things together, or to get the right assistance that they need to be able to apply, so they sort of miss the window,” Rigby said.
As a result, the department decided to establish two application windows so that those who might not have had the time or money to apply in the first round, or who weren’t awarded a grant, would have a second opportunity to receive funding. The first application period for funding will start on September 1 and last through September 30.
Later months will bring forth another application period of thirty days. In order to give those communities the extra time they felt they needed to prepare, Rigby added, “We also wanted to start the communication and outreach early, specifically to those communities.”Hopefully, this financing will have a different effect than the early COVID-19 relief grant rounds, Rigby added.
According to Rigby, “things were so terrible for our small company sector following shutdowns and that kind of thing that all of that (prior financing) was sort of emergency, put a band-aid on the problem to kind of stop the bleeding.” This recovery funding, according to the author, “is sort of intended to allow small businesses the time to plan and sort of home in on those sectors that are still not fully back to pre-pandemic levels.”