More than five months into this global pandemic that has caused so much economic devastation in our community, I am excited to share good news about a Small Business Grant Program that the city of Concord has created to help local small businesses that have experienced financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
On Aug. 4, the City Council approved the allocation of funds we will receive through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to four programs, including one that will provide $5,000 grants to 130 local small businesses.
We are proud to be partnering with the Concord Chamber of Commerce to administer the grant program, and all businesses that meet the eligibility requirements are welcome to apply. Details about the program are available at concordfirst.com/concord-forward/small-business-grant. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21.
Local small businesses are the engine that keeps this city going, and the city is dedicated to supporting our local small businesses during this unprecedented and difficult time. Not only do small businesses provide goods and services to our community, they make Concord the vibrant and unique city that residents and visitors love.
In addition to allocating funds to the grant program, the City Council made a commitment to support our rent relief program and efforts to improve access to technology in underserved neighborhoods at a time when all schools are requiring distance learning.
The rent relief program will receive $375,000 to be administered by our non-profit partner Shelter, Inc. The funds will further expand the city’s support for low-income residents unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 impacts. This effort supplements the CARES Act/Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding that the council authorized on June 23. It is expected to support up to an additional 45 participants, with priority given to families with children and senior citizens.
In order to help students as they get ready to go back to school in front of a device, we allocated $50,000 to help improve broadband availability in targeted neighborhoods. Our goal is to establish a partnership among the city, Mt. Diablo Unified School District and broadband providers to improve Internet access in underserved Concord neighborhoods. In order to support our struggling families with students, bridging the digital divide helps to create educational equity throughout our community and helps students thrive.
As a city, we are grateful to receive some of the federal funds that are specifically intended to assist local government agencies with their response to the pandemic. We are particularly proud to be able to use a significant portion of these funds to assist residents and businesses.
Thank you Concord residents for your resiliency as we all work together to support each other, stay safe and remain healthy.
Mayor Tim McGallian can be reached at 925.671.2489 or email Tim.McGallian@cityofconcord.org