A range of state government and charitable programs are available to help small businesses, nonprofits and individuals get through the difficult times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. John Carney has approved an expansion of the Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (H.E.L.P.) to reach a wider range of small businesses throughout Delaware.
The cap on the size of eligible businesses, which had been $1.5 million in annual revenue, has been raised to $2.5 million.
The program has been expanded primarily to include personal care services (8121). This includes many Delaware small businesses such as barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, and beauty shops.
The loans will still be eligible to apply towards expenses like a lease payment, utility bill or insurance payment, with the goal of helping as many small businesses as possible get through this difficult period.
H.E.L.P. offers no-interest loans of up to $10,000 per business per month. The money can go toward rent, utilities and other unavoidable bills but cannot be used for personnel costs. The loans have a 10-year term with payments deferred for nine months.
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The Division of Small Business has been processing the multitude of applications that have come in for the H.E.L.P. and expects to have the first payments starting to go out by the end of the week.
As business owners have worked on the applications, they have had numerous questions. The most frequently asked with answers are provided below.
The Delaware US Small Business Administration office is hosting calls every day at 3:00 PM EST to update the small business community on their response. Use teleconference line 1-202-765-1264, access code # 827299626.
Immediate Grants Available to Delaware Nonprofits Affected by COVID-19
Delaware nonprofits affected by COVID-19 are invited to apply for grants from the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund, housed at the Delaware Community Foundation and directed by a council of Delaware’s philanthropic leaders.
The application is now open at delcf.org/covid-grants. The deadline for the first round of awards is Monday, March 30, at noon. Only a few grants will be awarded in the first week. Nonprofits are encouraged to reapply weekly.
The maximum grant request is $50,000. In the first week, a total of $250,000 will be awarded. The total amount to be awarded is expected to increase in subsequent weeks, depending on funding available.
Grants from the Strategic Response Fund will initially focus on urgent needs related to COVID-19, then expand over time to more structural and long-term needs in three funding areas:
- Front-Line Grants fund nonprofits encountering increased demand for services due to COVID-19. This includes services to people who are financially vulnerable, homeless and facing health challenges.
- Service-Challenged Grants fund nonprofits that need assistance modifying their service delivery models extremely rapidly due to COVID-19.
- Collateral Damage Grants fund nonprofits facing extreme difficulty because of lost revenue due to closures, cancellations and other challenges related to COVID-19.
Applications will be accepted weekly on a rolling basis and grants will be awarded weekly for as long as funding is available and community needs exist related to COVID-19. Each week, applications received by noon on Monday will be reviewed, grantees will be selected Friday morning, and funds will be transferred Friday afternoon.
New Housing Assistance Offered
Governor John Carney and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi on Thursday announced a new program to provide emergency housing assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours, or unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
Q) Does all the paperwork need to be completed, or should I submit to hold my place in line?
- Send in your application and related documents only once you have compiled all of them. Applications will not be placed into the queue for processing until ALL required documentation is submitted.
Q: Will the loan be turned into a grant?
- No – H.E.L.P. offers zero interest loans with a nine-month deferment period. At the end of the 9 months borrowers will be required to start making payments on the amount disbursed under the program.
Q: What do I do if my bank won’t let me accept another loan?
- We would encourage you to reach out to your bank to discuss your options. You may still be able to apply for H.E.L.P.
Q: Can I apply if my annual revenue is over $2.5 Million? Can I get more than $10,000?
- At this time the program is only open to those businesses with annual revenue at or below $2.5 million and is capped at $10,000 per business per month. Businesses with revenue over $2.5 million are encouraged to reach out to the SBA if they need financial assistance. Any changes to the program will be posted to the Division of Small Business Coronavirus website – www.delbiz.com/coronavirus.
Q: Why do you need all the financial data and business license information?
- H.E.L.P. offers loans to eligible applicants. While the process is much simpler than traditional underwriting, this data is needed to verify eligibility for the program.
Q: What if my business is not eligible for H.E.L.P.?
- Applications received for ineligible businesses will not be processed. The SBA is offering low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million regardless of industry. More information is available at www.sba.gov/disaster. If any additions or changes are made to H.E.L.P., the updates will be shared at www.delbiz.com/coronavirus.