College Park set aside $1.7 million to assist residents and businesses dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. But so far, few have availed themselves of the grant program.
According to city manager Scott Somers, the city has only processed 28 small-business assistance grants totaling $47,400 plus 18 family assistance program grants totaling approximately $6,200.
“I was surprised at how low that was,” Somers said during College Park’s Aug. 4, 2020, City Council meeting.
According to the May 2020 legislation that created the program, all of the funds must be distributed by Dec. 15.
Under the program, College Park city businesses with 25 or fewer full-time may apply for emrgency grants of up to $15,000 per business for to offset losses from business interruptions or decreased customer demand caused by the emergency measures imposed to try to stem the spread of the disease. The grants are further restricted to commercial entities with no more than 10 outlets.
The program also allocated $200,000 for emergency financial aid to city residents. Grants of up to $5,000 per household can be issued for expenses such as rent, food, utilities and other “emergency” needs.
The city’s business facade improvement program also got a $150,000 funding boost, and removed requirements for business-owners to put up matching funds for the facility.
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The application is web-based and English only. If I’m a low income family or person without Internet and/or English is a second language this will cause me not to apply… -Ron Cameau.