I’m pleased to announce that we’re now taking applications for the next round of grants through the City of Portland’s Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF). Thank you to Prosper Portland for administering this fund, and to my Council colleagues for supporting a $15 million allocation of CARES Act funds to this critical community need. Applications will be taken through Friday, Sept. 25, 2020.
The $15 million will be distributed to small business in two ways: through the SBRF and through block grants to community nonprofits. Distribution is guided by the City’s Equity Toolkit and the knowledge that Black people, Indigenous people and all people of color have experienced the greatest impacts from the pandemic and need the most support.
Up to $12 million will be disbursed as grants of up to $25,000 through selected Community Development Financial Institutions partners. All have existing grant infrastructure in place and have extensive experience working with local small businesses.
An additional $3 million will be allocated as block grants to community partners that can reach culturally specific populations to provide access to these funds. All those organizations will receive an administrative fee to support their capacity to deliver this work.
This is the latest of many actions the City has taken to provide relief from the economic impact of COVID-19. Since I convened the City’s Economic Impact Task Force in March, our emergency response prioritized immediate relief to keep people in their homes, fed, and employed. We have made major investments in housing stability, new facilities for our homeless community, food security for hungry kids and families, and small business support.
When the pandemic first hit, Prosper Portland immediately made $150,000 available for grants to businesses in the Jade District, where many of many of our Chinese and Southeast-Asian businesses were feeling early and severe economic impacts.
Soon after, City Council established an initial emergency incident budget of $3 million and approved the reallocation of just over $1 million dollars in Portland Housing Bureau resources for emergency household assistance.
In July, following broad engagement with community members to understand their immediate and long-term needs, Council allocated $114 million in federal CARES Act funds. Based on this understanding of our community’s most pressing needs, Council allocations included:
- $32 million for household and housing stability
- $20 million for Multnomah County’s public health response
- $16.5 million for Portland’s homeless community
- $15 million for small business relief and more than over $4 million for arts and culture
The City has also sourced, assembled and distributed 1800 personal protective equipment boxes to customer-facing businesses owned by people of color through Portland’s multicultural chambers. 100% of purchasing occurred within the Portland metro area and 50% of purchases were from businesses owned by people of color.
We are continuing to work with community to understand the evolving needs Portlanders are facing, and City leaders are united in our commitment to build back better.