City of Everett offering grants for businesses hurt by COVID-19
Tribune staff photo
The deadline is Monday, May 11 to apply for a city grant. Above, Mayor Cassie Franklin addresses the public at her October 2019 budget address.
EVERETT — Small business owners, heads up: The city is taking applications for its local economic stimulus package.
The Everett Cares stimulus program is spreading $500,000 to small businesses within the city, and another $500,000 to nonprofits.
Who’s eligible? The criteria is geared toward truly small businesses hurt by coronavirus restrictions. The employee cap is 20.
Only brick-and-mortar locations, and no chains or franchises, can get a grant.
The place to apply is www.everettwa.gov/everettcares
The deadline to apply is Monday, May 11 at 5 p.m.
The city is reorienting some of its federal Community Development Block Grant funds to construct the program. Because federal money is being used, there are some additional criteria upon businesses with 6 to 20 employees, requiring them to be located in a low- or moderate-income area of town to be eligible.
The city will assist people with the complexities of applying for grants that include technicalities required by the federal government, a representative said at last week’s City Council meeting.
The city acknowledges upfront: Many other businesses that are eligible might miss the cut.
A team will decide the 50 recipients of the $10,000 small business grants. The grants will not need to be paid back.
The relief comes at a time when the organization Main Street America reported April 6 that most small businesses classified as “non-essential” risk going out of business within five months after halting operations.
May 4 marked the 40-day mark for when Washington state required non-essential businesses to cease activity.
Even during good times, a JPMorgan Chase Institute report from 2016 says the average small business can sustain just 27 days of having no sales or new cash income before using up its cash reserves. For the average restaurant, the buffer is a mere 16 days; for the average small retailer, it’s 19.
The cash reserves — its savings — are what a business uses when it’s short on being able to cover its payroll, to buy materials or ingredients, or to cover its mortgage or loans.
Everett’s grants are to reimburse costs going forward from April 30, and only contributes toward items such as: Wages, leases, debts, utilities, supplies and goods.
The city plans to use customer loyalty, minority ownership, operational strength and businesses that give back to the community as some of its benchmarks for ranking decisions.
“Priority (will be) given to small businesses owned by, employing or serving low-income communities experiencing inequities,” the city said in a news release.
It intends to spread the grants across a wide geographic footprint.
The city will make its decisions May 22 on which small businesses get grants.
The application document is available in English or Spanish, and the city might add Russian, too.
The city is reaching out to business owners with program information as part of its outreach, city economic development manager Dan Eernissee said.
The city received about $530,000 from the federal CARES Act which is being used toward this $1 million program. It had another $500,000 previously on hand for block grants.
Public agency grants
In mid-May, the city will launch the other half of the Everett Cares program, orienting $500,000 toward nonprofits, according to Becky McCrary of the city planning department.
The grants will be for nonprofits that gave more services, saw more clients, had to cut staff, or other impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are no specific grant amount limits for this segment, McCrary said.
To ask questions
Businesses can write to EverettCaresBiz@everettwa.gov Nonprofits can write to EverettCaresNP@everettwa.gov
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