American Rescue Plan Act Funds Provide Relief and Recovery Grants to Holyoke Businesses
Over $400,000 to date committed to helping small businesses in hard-hit sectors make it through the winter months
HOLYOKE – Small businesses in Holyoke that have been hard hit by the Covid 19 pandemic and resultant restrictions have been accessing a Relief and Recovery fund since $800,000 was set aside for small business relief in the first round of American Rescue Plan Act allocations in Holyoke last September. The grant program opened mid-October 2021, and to date over $400,000 funds have been committed to 20 local businesses, with another 20 set to receive word on their applications before the end of January.
Within two months of opening the grant program received over 40 applications, demonstrating the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on small businesses in Holyoke. The holiday surge at the end of December only deepened the need. The primary criteria for grant eligibility is simply that the business is located in Holyoke, was in existence prior to February 15, 2020, and that it faced negative economic impacts directly related to the pandemic. The program prioritizes businesses in the highly impacted Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism sectors, but is also providing relief to places like gyms and salons that have seen similar drops in attendance and are struggling to make ends meet.
“Even if a business made it through that lockdown period, it is likely going to be facing a snowballing amount of debt from that time and the winter drop off in customers is not going to help.” says Kate Preissler, Special Projects Manager in the Office for Community Development. “We don’t want to see any business fail because they did the right thing and followed the rules. They did their part to keep the public safe and these funds are a way to show our support in return.”
Grants funds have been allocated to be used for a broad variety of uses, aimed at keeping businesses afloat even as future forecasts and planning remains largely unknown. The grants have so far been used for equipment purchases; PPE supplies and cleaning costs; rent and utilities costs; staff retention; and operating supplies. Grants are reviewed and awarded on a revolving basis and the application will remain available to local businesses until the original allocation runs out.
The application form is available in English or Spanish online at www.holyoke.org/covid-19-
ABOUT THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was passed by the federal government to support the economic and public health recovery of the United States from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
ARPA designated $350 billion in direct aid to state, local, and tribal governments. The City of Holyoke will receive over $29 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the United States Treasury Department to assist in the recovery from COVID-19.
ABOUT THE OFFICE FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
The Holyoke Office for Community Development administers federal funds to projects in Holyoke. Funding comes from Community Development Block Grants, HOME Investment Partnerships Program Grant, and as of spring of 2021, American Rescue Plan Act funds.
The funds administered by the Office for Community Development are used for a wide range of activities that improve housing, the living environment, and economic opportunities, primarily for persons of low to moderate income, in Holyoke. Currently, the Holyoke Office for Community Development is supporting over $17 million in grant-funded projects in progress in Holyoke.