The City of Austin Economic Development Department announces the award of an additional $2.5 million dollars in economic recovery grants to 89 small businesses impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The City distributed the relief dollars through an extension of the Austin Small Business Relief Grant by allocating additional funding from Community Development Block Grants – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV). Small businesses and sole proprietors applied for up to $40,000 in grant funding to help cover rent, payroll, and other economic needs.
"There was an overwhelming request for funding when we first launched the Austin Small Business Relief Grant in 2020," explains Sylnovia Holt Rabb, Acting Director for the Economic Development Department. "We worked hard to find innovative uses for federal and local dollars that could help fulfill small business needs that were still in the application queue. Our hope is that these CDBG-CV funds provide relief to strengthen our community and help the business community continue to rebound and recover."
The City of Austin received $7.6 million in CDBG-CV funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act. Following a public input process and approval from HUD, $2.5 million was designated for small business relief funding. The remaining funding was allocated to rental relief and childcare support. The CDBG-CV program requires the funds to benefit low- and moderate-income beneficiaries. All of the businesses that received grants from CDBG-CV funding employ workers and provide services in low- and moderate-income areas of Austin.
In the summer of 2020, Austin City Council approved $16.5 million dollars through Resolution No. 20200507-023 and Resolution No. 20200604-040 to establish the Austin Small Business Relief Grant (formerly known as the Commercial Loans for Economic Assistance and Recovery Fund, or CLEAR Fund). CDBG-CV funding provided an additional $2.5 million for applicants who were previously unfunded through the first application period. Aggregate data for all recipients to date can be found on the virtual dashboard for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant. Each dashboard displays information such as the number of applications received for each program, profiles of applicants (minus personal identifying information), and approval and denial rates.
The additional awardees, who were next in queue based on submitted program applications from 2020, were evaluated against a scoring matrix that includes criteria for need, vulnerability, and equity. All awardees were also evaluated to ensure they remained operational, were located in a low- to moderate-income area of Austin, and satisfied required financial underwriting criteria required by HUD. In this round of recipients, 31 awardees were previously funded for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) reimbursements through CARES Act dollars in 2020. These recipients also received CDBG-CV funding in 2021 to make whole their original requests for the Austin Small Business Relief Grant up to their full eligible award amount.
The City of Austin once again partnered with the Austin Better Business Bureau to process remaining applications and distribute the grant funds.
Visit www.ATXrecovers.com for a one-stop resource to help businesses and individuals recover from the financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Find resources related to funding, unemployment assistance, legal aid, consulting help, and more.
About the City of Austin Economic Development Department
The City of Austin Economic Development Department supports business growth, creative industries, and local communities. These programs build an equitable, sustainable economy to improve the lives of all Austin residents. To learn more about helpful resources, visit www.austintexas.gov/edd or like us on Facebook @AustinEconDev and follow @AustinEconDev on Twitter.