COVID-19 resources and notices

Federal funding from relief bills

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Goes into effect on April 1, 2020
Employers/Employees

  • The agreement includes a provision to allow Medicare beneficiaries to access telehealth programs that will let them remotely see providers to assess symptoms potentially tied to the coronavirus.
  • Testing for coronavirus will be free to the public. The bill also allocates more $300 million to ensure that when a vaccine is developed — which some estimate could be a year or more away — that Americans will be able to access it regardless of their ability to pay, according to a congressional aide involved in the negotiations.
  • It requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide two weeks’ worth of paid sick leave if employees are unable to work because they’re subject to quarantine or isolation, are experiencing symptoms of COVID–19, are caring for someone who is in quarantine or isolation and/or have children in schools that have closed.
  • Until the end of 2020, employers with less than 500 employees will now be required to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of Family Medical Leave.
  • Each quarter, private companies are entitled to fully refundable tax credits for both paid sick leave and paid FMLA. The tax credits are applied against an employer’s already-owed Social Security taxes.
  • Allocates $1 billion in funds for state unemployment programs and gives state governments new flexibility when it comes to workers needing unemployment insurance. The FFCRA eliminates the need for employees to wait a week before they are eligible for UI and eases work search requirements

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act

Summary of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act

Employers/Employee

  • Most adults will get $1,200, although some would get less. For every qualifying child age 16 or under, the payment will be an additional $500. ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS: What you need to know
  • Single adults with Social Security numbers who have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will get the full amount. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less will receive a total of $2,400.
  • Expands unemployment insurance from three to four months, and provides temporary unemployment compensation of $600 per week, which is in addition to and the same time as regular state and federal UI benefits.
  • Self-employed people (gig workers, freelancers and independent contractors) are newly eligible for unemployment benefits.
  • Part-time workers are eligible for benefits, but the benefit amount and how long benefits will last depend on your state. They are also eligible for the additional $600 weekly benefit.
  • If you have COVID-19 or need to care for a family member who has it you will be eligible for the newly expanded unemployment benefits if you become or are unemployed. This also applies for people who rely on childcare or schools to care for a child which has been shut down.
  • The extra $600 payment will last for up to four months, covering weeks of unemployment ending July 31.

For more information about employee benefits, student loan deferrals, retirement accounts and more, please read the New York Times article here.

Other features of the bill

  • $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for state, local and tribal governments. See estimated state allocations courtesy of Federal Funds Information for States.
  • $45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund for the immediate needs of state, local, tribal and territorial governments to protect citizens and help them respond and recover from the overwhelming effects of COVID-19.
  • $1.5 billion to Economic Development Administration (EDA) for economic adjustment assistance to revitalize local communities after the pandemic.
  • $5 billion for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to enable states, counties and cities to respond to economic and housing impacts caused by COVID-19, including the expansion of community health facilities, childcare centers, food banks and senior services.
  • $10 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for operating costs.
  • $17 billion for the SBA to cover six months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans. Rent, mortgage and utility costs now eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.
  • $25 million to the USDA’s Rural Development Grant Program for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program, as well as $100 million to the USDA’s ReConnect program to help ensure rural Americans have access to broadband.
  • $20.5 million to the Rural Business Development Grant Program to support business and industry loans.
  • $453 million for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to prepare for and respond to the coronavirus, including for public safety and justice programs, welfare assistance and social services programs, and other tribal government assistance.

State specific updates and resources

All States

AK, CA, HI, MT, NV and WA only

Rural Rental Insecurity Program–COVID-19 rental relief • Funding Notice • Round 1

RCAC secured grant funding to finance emergency rental assistance programs established in response to the unforeseen increase in renters’ financial hardship caused by COVID-19. It is RCAC’s intent to ensure that renters benefit from this funding quickly and efficiently. Applicants must be either a Housing Authority, Tribal Housing Authority, local government or Community Action (CAP) Agency. Deadline: June 5, 2020. Download Notice and Application

Alaska

  • COVID-19 Resources for Alaska Employees
  • Alaska Small Business Association
  • Alaska Housing Finance Corporation
  • HB 308 Relates to unemployment benefits during a period of state or national emergency resulting from a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
  • SB 242 To mitigate economic harm during novel coronavirus disease outbreak, relates to tolling deadlines for actions by state agencies; income determinations for purposes of determining eligibility for certain public assistance programs; forbearance from action against borrowers who owe money on state loans; a temporary moratorium on certain mortgage foreclosures, certain evictions from rental properties, and disconnection of residential utilities.

Arizona

California

Colorado

Hawaii

Idaho

Montana

Nevada

New Mexico

Oregon

Utah

Washington

Federal Response to COVID-19 Pandemic for Renters and Homeowners

NOTES*one thing that we are unsure of right now, as this is a moving target, is if these measures outlined below will be automatic or if borrowers/tenants will need to apply for these assistance measures and what those guidelines will be to qualify.  During the 2008 Housing Crisis, measures like these were put into effect and HUD Housing Counselors were enlisted to assist customers in applying/qualifying and obtaining loan workouts including forbearances, loan modifications and to stop foreclosures and evictions. We hope they do enlist HUD Housing Counselors again to enable customers to assist in working with their loan servicing agencies.

The Federal Government has declared the COVID-19 pandemic a “National Emergency” and not a Federal Disaster at this point.  That may change. Many States have declared Federal Disasters, but not nationally.   If this does get declared a National Federal Disaster there will be many more resources for homeowners and renters– Donna Lea Brooks

  1. CARES ACT Mortgage guidance due to COVID and Renters guidance due to COVID from CFPB. CFPB also handles complaints from borrowers/tenants experiencing difficulty in dealing with their loan servicer/landlord in obtaining a COVID related foreclosure/eviction prevention workout option:

CFPB: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/guide-coronavirus-mortgage-relief-options/

  1. CARES ACT Small Business Guidance, SBA: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
  1. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has suspended all foreclosures on FHA mortgages and evictions in FHA financed rental properties for the next 60 days, effective March 18, 2020

a. See HUD FAQ: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh

  1. Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) which oversees both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Government Sponsored Enterprises) has suspended foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days, effective March 18, 2020.  This suspension applies to all home loans that are backed by a GSE mortgage and all renters in a GSE backed single family home rentals.

a. See press release: https://www.fhfa.gov/Media/PublicAffairs/Pages/FHFA-Suspends-Foreclosures-and-Evictions-for-Enterprise-Backed-Mortgages.aspx

b. Loan workout options for FNAM/FHLMC Government sponsored enterprise backed mortgages (borrowers need to know who the investor is on their loan to determine what options are available for them):

i. Freddie Mac: http://www.freddiemac.com/about/covid-19.html

ii. Fannie Mae: https://www.fanniemae.com/portal/media/corporate-news/2020/covid-homeowner-assistance-options-7000.html

  1. Veterans Administration Guaranteed Loans (VA) has offered homeowners the options of a Forbearance, if the homeowner is affected by the COVID-19 virus.

a. See press release: https://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/documents/circulars/26_20_7.pdf

  1. United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development has options for homeowners under both the Guaranteed Loan program and the Direct Loan program. We do expect more guidance from them on the Mutual Self Help program and the non-profits that administer these programs and the owner/builders that are participating in the program.

a. See press release: https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/03/17/usda-continues-focus-service-during-covid-19-outbreak

  1. HUD has given Public Housing Authorities guidance on the administration of the HUD Section 8 Voucher program including an eviction prevention program to ensure low income individuals and families are able to remain in their Section 8 rent subsidized rental unit and not become homeless.

a. See FAQ: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PIH/documents/COVID19_FAQ_PIH_Final.pdf

Small businesses

Paycheck Protection Program (As amended by the Economic Aid Act)

The second round of the Paycheck Protection Program is now open. RCAC is accepting and processing loan applications to provide financing for small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. RCAC’s lending is limited to small businesses in a rural area or community of 50,000 or less population or businesses that serve rural populations. The application period is open January 11, 2021 to March 31, 2021. More details are available HERE.

Families First and Cares Act Resources

FAQ’s and Small Business Toolkit provided by Communities Unlimited

New COVID-19 Small Business Resources & Strategies

Below is information on several COVID19 small business resources and strategies.  It includes:

  • Links to SBA and USDA funding sources for agricultural producers
  • Info on a Western Governor’s Association webinars
  • Link to the new USDA Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program
  • Information on $1 Billion in Loan Guarantees for Rural Ag Producers
  • Link to an interesting article detailing The Cascading Impact of COVID19 on Microbusinesses

Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available to U.S. Agricultural Businesses Affected by COVID19

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) portal has reopened, in a limited capacity, as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. The legislation, which was signed into law by the President in late April, provided additional critical funding for farmers and ranchers affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  Eligible agricultural businesses include those businesses engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)).  SBA is encouraging all eligible agricultural businesses with 500 or fewer employees wishing to apply to begin preparing their business financial information needed for their application.  Eligible agricultural business may apply for an EIDL Loan at: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/.

In order to help facilitate this important change to EIDL Loan and EIDL Advance assistance eligibility, SBA is re-opening the Loan and Advance application portal to agricultural enterprises only. For agricultural producers that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to April 15th, SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying.

USDA to Host Webinar for Agricultural Producers Applying for Direct Payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

As part of President Trump and Secretary Perdue’s April 17 announcement of a $19 billion Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program (CFAP), USDA will provide $16 billion in direct support based on losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted. USDA will also assist eligible producers facing additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.  Additional information on CFAP can be found at https://www.farmers.gov/cfap?utm_campaign=0512cfapwebinar.  A recording of the webinar and answers to its questions will also be posted on the site for those who are not able to attend live.

Western Governors’ Association Webinar: COVID-19 Economic Impacts and Mitigation in Rural Communities

The COVID-19 pandemic presents enormous challenges for businesses in rural communities. The Western Governors’ Association hosted a three-part series.  Recordings of the webinars can be found here: https://westgov.org/

USDA Community Food Projects Grants — Due: June 3, 2020

The USDA Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFPCGP) is offering up to $400,000 for community food projects that help to fight food insecurity and promote the self-sufficiency of low-income communities. The CFPCG is offering grants under two different funding areas:

  • Community Food Projects (CFP) support the development of projects with a one-time infusion of federal dollars that will spur self-sustaining project activities. Examples of CFP Projects include, but are not limited to, community gardens with market stands, value chain projects, food hubs, farmers’ markets, farm-to-institutions projects, and marketing & consumer cooperatives. All projects must involve low-income participants (up to $400,000).
  • Planning Projects (PP) support the creation of plans that help improve community food security. Examples of PPs include, but are not limited to, community food assessments’ coordination of collaboration development plan, GIS analysis, food sovereignty study, and farm-to-institution exploration. All projects must involve low-income participants (up to $35,000).

Preference under both CFP and PP will be given to projects that develop links between multiple sectors of the food system, support entrepreneurial projects, build long-term capacity of communities, and help to reduce food insecurity.  Eligible applicants include public food program service providers, tribal organizations, or private nonprofit entities, including gleaners. Applicants for CFP and PP awards are encouraged to seek and create partnerships with public or private, nonprofit or for-profit entities, including links with academic institutions (including minority-serving colleges and universities), and/or other appropriate professionals, community-based organizations, and local government entities.  A 1:1 match is required.

USDA to Provide $1 Billion in Loan Guarantees for Rural Businesses and Ag Producers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the Department is making available up to $1 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during the coronavirus pandemic.  Additionally, agricultural producers that are not eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans may receive funding under the USDA Business & Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program.  B&I CARES Act Program loans must be used as working capital to prevent, prepare for or respond to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The loans may be used only to support rural businesses.  USDA intends to consider applications in the order they are received. However, the Department may assign priority points to projects if the demand for funds exceeds availability.  USDA announced the expanded B&I CARES Act Program authorities in a notice published in the May 21 Federal Register (PDF, 217 KB). Eligible applicants may contact their local USDA Rural Development State Office in the state where the project is located.  USDA is developing application guides for lenders and borrowers on the B&I CARES Act Program.

New Report on the Impact of COVID on Vulnerable Microbusinesses Owned by People of Color, Women, and Immigrants

A new report by Prosperity Now, The Cascading Impact of COVID-19 on Microbusinesses, explores the reasons why businesses owned by people of color, women, and immigrants have been especially affected by the pandemic.  These communities are historically the most vulnerable to financial shocks, and are most represented in the sectors that saw a virtual stoppage in economic activity. The report highlights how and why these vulnerable businesses have trouble accessing financing and how this has been exacerbated by the pandemic.