Wednesday, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced that 13 rural Hoosier communities will receive more than $1.96 million in federal grant funding, through the new COVID-19 Response Program.
“After setting up weekly calls with our local elected officials and Main Street organizations, I was able to hear how quickly we needed to provide funding to assist with rising medical needs and to save jobs and small businesses,” said Crouch. “Our rural communities are truly the next economic frontier and we have to do all we can to ensure they survive this crisis.”
In March, Governor Eric Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-05 that allowed the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) to redirect Community Development Block Grant funds to assist with COVID-19 needs, based on guidance from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
On April 1, the COVID-19 Response Program launched and, over the course of two weeks, received 108 Letters of Need, totaling an estimated $23 million in requests. Eligible activities for this program include but are not limited to:
- Expanding or altering existing medical facilities to help in the increasing patient load due to COVID-19;
- Provide fixed or mobile testing;
- Expand food pantry services to low-to-moderate (LMI) populations; and
- Provide grants or loans to small businesses to help retain LMI jobs.
“Our rural communities are feeling the effects of COVID-19 and need immediate support to ensure that critical services and supplies, as well as economic recovery resources, are available,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “These are the first of many projects we hope to fund through this new program.”
Below is a summary of the projects funded under each category. More projects will be announced as they continue to be evaluated and reviewed by OCRA. For further information on the program, visit www.in.gov/ocra/3010.htm.
Provide testing, diagnosis or other services
- The Town of Lacrosse is awarded $10,000 to install four Wi-Fi hotspots for residents to access the internet to complete e-Learning activities, file unemployment claims, and submit job applications.
- Cass County and Logansport Memorial Hospital are awarded $150,000 to provide COVID-19 testing at the Cass County Fairgrounds to residents of Cass County. Special hours will be set aside for those that are seniors aged 62 and older.
Establish delivery service
- Tippecanoe County is awarded $100,000 to provide a distribution service for essential supplies to families or individuals in quarantine and isolation because of positive testing for COVID-19.
- The City of Logansport is awarded $100,000 to deliver supplies and meals to LMI residents in partnership with the United Way of Cass County.
- The City of Bargersville is awarded $100,000 to deliver needed supplies to residents in partnership with the local main street organization.
Grants to businesses to retain jobs
- The Town of North Manchester is awarded $250,000 to build upon an existing Revolving Loan Fund to provide grants to local businesses with employees who have low-and-moderate income households impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis.
- Noble County is awarded $95,250 to fund a micro-grant program that will target at-risk small county businesses in partnership with the Noble County Economic Development Corporation.
- Fulton County is awarded $250,000 to provide Grants to small businesses in order to retain employees.
- The City of Delphi is awarded $198,600 to create funds for local businesses that can be used as working capital.
- The City of Knox is awarded $250,000 to provide working capital to local businesses for job retention.
- The Town of Hebron is awarded $152,500 to create a fund to provide short term working capital for small businesses in order to retain jobs.
- Pike County is awarded $60,000 to provide $5,000 grants through the county’s economic development corporation to local businesses for working capital.
Loans to businesses to retain jobs
- The City of Greensburg is awarded $250,000 to provide loans to local small business owners who are LMI or to retain LMI jobs. The funds will be processed through the local economic development revolving loan program.