NORWALK – On July 21, the city council unanimously approved changes to its previously approved small business loan program that could now increase loans and support business financing.

On May 19, the Council approved $ 700,000 to fund unsuccessful loans to companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a maximum loan of $ 10,000 per company to support overdue rental payments.

The changes include increasing the maximum loan to $ 35,000 per company and covering additional costs such as building barriers between jobs and moving restaurants and other outdoor services.

Norwalk approved outdoor dining for restaurants on June 16.

In a joint report to the council, community development director John P. Ramirez and housing manager Nida Watkins recommended the changes and noted that “the city has received 56 applications for this program so far. The city has approved 15 applicants and signed loan documents with six companies. "

The allotment has no impact on Norwalk's bottom line, as the money comes from Coronavirus’s Coresavirus Aid, Aid, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), approved by Congress and signed by President Trump on March 27, to spread and impact to fight coronavirus disease.

Under the CARES Act, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development granted Norwalk an additional $ 747,572 in block grants for community development to be used to support businesses affected by COVID-19.

"These funds can only be used to prevent, prepare, and respond to COVID-19," Garcia and Watkins said in their report. "HUD has established guidelines for CDBG-CV funds to maximize fund availability."

The city is proposing to revise the current small business loan program to include additional support for the economic development of existing businesses. The new loan program would include helping companies that are up to three months late in their utilities, helping them purchase supplies and materials to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and helping build the necessary boundaries associated costs to work according to the current guidelines of the Ministry of Health.

"This could include preparing for outdoor meals, installing barriers between stations in a nail salon or barber shop, and other costs," the report said.

“The city expects to provide additional funds from the CARES Act to help private, for-profit companies avoid job losses due to business closings due to social disengagement.

This includes providing capital support to small businesses to create and maintain jobs held by low and middle income people in the city. The increased amount will allow companies to use federal funds to help prepare, prevent, and respond to COVID-19.

By Arnold Adler

Contributing author

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