The Pottawatomie County Commission authorized officials to move forward in the application process for newly-available COVID-19 relief funds through the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Community Development Block Grant program, also known as CDBG-CV, during a meeting Monday.
The decision came after Jack Allston, the executive director of the Pottawatomie County Economic Development Corporation, provided information on the program to the commission during their weekly meeting.
This program, which makes $9,029,815 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act available to eligible cities and counties in Kansas, is meant to provide support for food programs and help eligible businesses.
CDBG-CV differs from other programs in that the money distributed to businesses and organizations does not have to be paid back.
“Normally, the state would have a process where they would grant the money to the county or city,” Allston said. “The city would (then) loan the funds to the companies. But in this case, its grants to the companies, which is highly unusual.”
CDBG-CV funds are made available through two categories of grants: economic development and meal programs.
CDBG-CV Economic Development grants are designed to help for-profit businesses employing people with low-to-moderate incomes retain jobs.
For a business to be eligible, at least 51 percent of the full-time jobs it retains must be for people who make what the the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development defines as a low-to-moderate income.
Businesses may use the funds to purchase inventory to last up to 60 days or for other expenses, such as rent, utilities and wages.
Eligible cities and counties applying for Economic Development grants can receive up to $300,000.
The amount of CDBG-CV funds a business receives is dependent on how many full-time workers it employs.
Those with fewer than six employees (this number includes the owner) can receive up to $25,000 per full-time worker and a maximum of $30,000.
Businesses with six or more employees (up to 50) can receive up to $35,000 per full-time worker and a maximum of $50,000.
CDBG-CV Meal Program grants are designed to help eligible cities and counties provide support for programs promoting and implementing access to food, such as food banks and Meals on Wheels.
Eligible cities and counties applying for CDBG-CV Meal Program grants can receive up to $100,000
To be eligible, a community must show that at least 51 percent of its population meets HUD criteria for low-to-moderate-income households.
According to Allston, Pottawatomie County likely does not meat the eligibility criteria for CDBG-CV Meal Program grants.
Wichita, Kansas City, Manhattan, Topeka, Lawrence, Leavenworth, Overland Park and Johnson County are not eligible for the CDBG-CV program.
Communities can find more information on and apply for the CDBG-CV program online at kansascommerce.gov.
Businesses interested in the program can contact their city or county clerk office.
Funds are available on a first-come first-serve basis until they run out.