By Steve Davisson
The COVID-19 outbreak has taken a toll on our state’s economy, including here at home.
Indiana is taking steps to support businesses in rural areas. Recently, a total of $750,000 in coronavirus relief funding was awarded to aid local businesses in Lawrence County, Mitchell and Salem.
These funds will help ensure resources are available for our economic recovery.
The money comes in the form of community development block grants through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. These dollars typically help rural communities with a variety of infrastructure projects, such as sewer and water systems, along with community centers or health and safety programs. Through Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive order, these funds were redirected to assist local municipalities with COVID-19.
Lawrence County received $250,000 to provide working capital to businesses, assist with operational costs and develop remote work capabilities. Mitchell was also awarded $250,000, which will provide businesses with 25 or fewer employees funding for rental or mortgage payments, supplies to resume business and salary dollars. Salem will use its $250,000 grant to help fund a local small business grant program to retain jobs. Businesses can apply for $5,000 grants to cover expenses such as rent, working capital and utilities.
For the past two months, our rural communities experienced unprecedented hardships due to COVID-19, and they need support to help them get back on track. Local officials and business and economic development leaders said this assistance helps to address rising costs to keep workers and the public healthy, and to save jobs and businesses in our communities.
So far, more than $10.7 million has been distributed to rural communities through the state’s response program. This is a rolling award process, and more projects will be announced as OCRA evaluates and reviews more applications. Communities can apply for a grant worth up to $250,000.
Rural communities, like our own, are essential to Indiana’s success, and this financial support is key to our economic recovery as businesses look to reopen. To learn more and apply, visit in.gov/ocra.