PHILADELPHIA – September 24, 2020 – State Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) applauded the City of Philadelphia’s announcement that it would provide additional grant funding for small businesses in the city Thursday afternoon.
The City of Philadelphia announced it would allocate an additional $20 million from Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) received from the U.S. Treasury and direct the funds to the COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Small Business Assistance program to support small businesses in the city. Sen. Hughes and state senators from Philadelphia wrote Mayor Kenney in August urging the use of CARES funds to help small businesses. The $20 million will be distributed though Pennsylvania’s Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) network to provide additional grants to Philadelphia businesses in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods.
“I am grateful we were able to use our existing infrastructure to provide additional help to the businesses hit hardest by the pandemic in the city of Philadelphia,” Sen. Hughes said. “However, it should be clear that we must do more for businesses in the city and across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I would encourage my colleagues in the Pennsylvania General Assembly to use some of the $1.3 billion remaining CARES dollars to assist our small businesses. We cannot ignore the reality of this pandemic and the struggles our communities are facing.”
The COVID-19 Relief Pennsylvania Statewide Small Business Assistance program launched in June and announced its first round of grantees in August, with 1,123 Philadelphia businesses receiving $20.4 million. However, there was a gap of over $150 million for Philadelphia businesses alone. A second, final round of grant recipients is expected to be announced in the next week. Philadelphia’s $20 million will be used to provide grants for some of the applicants who remained unfunded from the total program after the second round.
“Philadelphia’s small businesses are crucial to the health and well-being of our communities, providing tens of thousands of jobs for residents, along with countless goods and services,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect everyday life, we recognize that additional support is needed for our small businesses, and that is why the City has prioritized such relief. This $20 million for grants will be deployed as quickly as possible to prevent closures and protect jobs, and our administration will continue to advocate for the state and federal governments to match the level of local investment being made to help meet the needs of small businesses impacted by COVID-19.”
This new funding is in addition to the more than $13.3 million the City already distributed to 2,083 small businesses earlier this year through the Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund, administered by the Department of Commerce and PIDC. Even with these various rounds of financial assistance, local small businesses are still in overwhelming need of more support—estimated at more than $300 million. The City will continue to advocate for the state and federal governments to match the level of local investment being made and to provide more flexible funding to help meet the needs of small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
“The Pennsylvania CDFI Network is excited to work with the City to drive more dollars to Philadelphia based small businesses,” said Jim Burnett, Executive Director, West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution. “We have said all along that all the businesses that applied for funding were worthy of support, we just didn’t have enough money. This $20 million will go to help those businesses, especially Black and Brown businesses, that would not have received funds from our initial allocation.”
Additional information about when businesses can apply will be announced in the near future.