CHAMPAIGN — City staff want to expand who is eligible for Champaign’s COVID Small Business Grants, which are funded by $520,000 in federal Community Development Block Grants.
Since the application for the grants launched, 68 businesses have applied, city staff said in a packet to the council. The 30 that hadn’t received any financial assistance elsewhere were prioritized, while the remaining were wait-listed.
“After assessing the first batch of applications, it became evident that a large share of applicants that were wait-listed because they received prior financial assistance had only received small loan amounts, which represented a small share of their overall financial need. Some loans were as little as $1,000,” city staff wrote. “Staff determined that many of these businesses were still in need of significant assistance.”
To remedy this, staff propose that council modify the grant guidelines to prioritize wait-listed businesses that have received up to $5,000 from other sources.
If a business received funding from both the city and other sources, it wouldn’t be able to use the city’s funding to reimburse expenses already covered by another program.
“For example, if an applicant received a PPP loan to cover all its payroll expenses during April, May and June, then they cannot apply for our grant to cover those same payroll expenses,” staff wrote.
Champaign’s city council will meet Tuesday to discuss the proposal.