NVDA: COVID-19 Updates

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NVDA: COVID-19 Updates

Wed, 07/15/2020 - 6:17am -- tim

Northeastern Vermont Development Association Governor Phil Scott announced Tuesday that he will extend the State of Emergency today until August 15. He has been extending it on a month-by-month basis. When announcing the extension this week, Governor Scott urged Vermonters and out-of-state visitors to quarantine after returning to the state, stating that vigilance is allowing safe re-openings. "It's not time to let your guard down."

Housing Assistance Programs $30 million in housing assistance through the CARES Act is available to those affected by COVID-19. The relief program will help tenants unable to pay rent, landlords suffering from loss of rent payments, and lower income homeowners needing assistance in paying their mortgages. The Vermont State Housing Authority manages federal rental assistance statewide and will administer the rental assistance program.The Vermont Housing Finance Agency finances affordable housing statewide and will administer the mortgage assistance payments. Technical assistance will be available through the VT Landlord Association to help landlords access the rental assistance program. Vermont Legal Aid will help tenants and homeowners access funds.

College Campuses New guidance was announced for the safe and healthy re-opening of college campuses College Re-start Plan. Upon arrival this fall, testing will be required for all students, and each must sign a code of conduct agreement. The guidance also addresses density in classrooms, residence and dining halls to facilitate physical distancing.

Application Portal Opened July 6 for Economic Recovery Grants  The Agency of Commerce & Community Development and the VT Department of Taxes will work together to administer grant funding made available to Vermont through federal Coronavirus Relief Funds. Visit their websites for important information on "Where and How to Apply."   VT Economic Recovery Grants and Vermont Department of Taxes.  The grant support center can be reached at (802) 828-1200 from 8:00 am-5:00 pm, M-F, and from 9:00 am-2:00 pm Saturday. The ACCD grant website also has a live Help Chat option.  To reach the Tax Department  (802) 828-6611 or email tax.grants@vermont.gov. Each business or organization applicant may receive only one grant. Grants will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. 

PPE Survey to Help Employers Please take a few moments to complete a brief survey that will assist ongoing efforts to help Vermont employers secure masks/face coverings and other personal protective equipment (PPE) they need. Face Covering Survey The purpose of the survey is to help quantify use, consider current and future demand, and determine an adequate supply.

Paycheck Protection Program: Application Deadline Extended to August 8, 2020 As of July 3, approximately $130 billion remains available for loans to small businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors, self-employed persons, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, 501(c)(19) veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses. The new deadline is August 8. Don't delay. Applicants should apply as soon as possible.

Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act allows small businesses to extend the period of loan forgiveness. Additional key changes include reduced payroll requirement - 60% instead of 75%; and extended repayment time - 5 years instead of 2 years. SBA will soon issue rules and guidance for the Flexibility Act, a modified borrower application form, and a modified loan forgiveness application.  The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has posted clear, detailed information about the Paycheck Protection Program on their website PPP-VEDA.

SBA Vermont District Office Hosts Free Webinars: 

Resource Websites

Local Resources: NVDA (www.nvda.net), NCIC (www.ncic.org), and the NEK Collaborative (www.nekcollaborative.org), are working to distribute information and guidance on the resources and opportunities available in the region. Reach out by phone, email or Zoom for information.  

Resources for Working Lands Businesses: COVID-19 quick-response support, services, resources, and relief programs available through the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program. Visit the website Here.     

FEMA COVID-19 Public Assistance  FEMA Applicant Information  Contact Kim Canarecci, VT State Public Assistance Officer (802) 585-4209  Kim.Canarecci@vermont.gov

VT Emergency Management  Connect to resources on the current COVID-19 emergency response in Vermont  VEM website. Bruce Melendy is NVDA's Emergency Management Specialist and Regional Emergency Management Coordinator Bmelendy@nvda.net

USDA Rural Development Resource Webpage  USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate steps to help rural residents, businesses and communities impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit the website for updates on utilities and housing services.   www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus. 

VT Manufacturing Extension Center  Vermont's go-to resource for manufacturing has a VMEC COVID-19 Resource webpage VMEC. 

VT Health Department Daily Coronavirus Update Up-to-date Information and Guidance  Find the latest data about cases, testing, hospitalizations, forecasting, resources, and more.

Business Information

Create a myVTax Account  All businesses that pay Vermont Rooms & Meals, Sales & Use, or other business taxes should immediately update or create an account if they do not have one already. It is important to have a current account. This is how the VT Tax Department is distributing emergency recovery grants to local businesses. Create a myVTax Account

Did you know? The VT Small Business Development Center will provide free help to construct financial statements and application forms for disaster relief funding? Contact Ross Hart (802) 535-4240 (cell), Rhart@vtsbdc.org  or Heidi Krantz  Hkrantz@vtsbdc.org

VT Department of Labor (DOL) 

The DOL website contains important information for employees, employers, unemployment assistance, job openings and training opportunities. Visit http://Labor.Vermont.gov.

VT DOL Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) An additional 13 weeks of benefits are now available to individuals who have exhausted their regular state unemployment insurance claim within the benefit year that expired on or after July 1, 2019. The additional benefits provided by the PEUC program are federally funded. Individuals must remain able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work within the temporary flexibilities approved by the DOL. For more information and detailed instructions visit the PEUC website. 

Employee Rights: Paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) The Act requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Visit www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.

Funding Opportunities                                    

  • Main Street Lending Program The Federal Reserve's Main Street lending program is designed to help large businesses with low interest loans. At the present time, the CARES Act cannot provide economic recovery loans for operating capital. Visit the website for more information Main Street Lending Program.  Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) is available to answer questions: Cassie Polhemus (802) 828-5627 Cpolhemus@veda.org.                      

  • Grants for Women & Minority-Owned Businesses The Vermont Commission on Women is assisting with outreach efforts about available grant funding through the CARES Act. Grants are for women-owned and minority-owned businesses with zero-five employees, which includes people who are self-employed. To apply, use the VT Agency of Commerce & Community Development Resource Center at Grants for Women and Minority-owned Businesses. Technical assistance is available from the Partnership for Fairness and Diversity.  

  • Grants for the Creative Sector Eligible arts and cultural non-profit organizations are encouraged to apply for this special funding allocation. The Vermont Arts Council will help.  Visit their website and find out more Recovery Grants for Creative Sector.  FAQs

  • Health Care Relief Funds The Agency of Human Services is administering the Health Care Provider Stabilization Grant Program for providers licensed by the Board of Medical Practice or the Office of Professional Regulation. Applications open July 17 and the deadline to submit applications is August 15. Visit the website to receive notification Health Care Provider Stabilization. Funding will be allocated based on need to the extent that funds are available. Learn more https://humanservices.vermont.gov/ 

  • 2020 Regional Forest Economy Partnership (RFEP) Grant Find information about the grant application on the Northern Border Regional Commission website Here. A Letter of Interest must be submitted by August 28. Full applications are due October 30. The purpose of the RFEP program is to assist rural communities in transitioning from dependence on the forest-based economy to new opportunities for diversity and innovation. The RFEP opportunity also focuses on the impacts of Covid-19 and resulting economic uncertainty on communities in the NBRC region. Contact VT Program Manager for assistance. Kristie Farnham kristie.farnham@vermont.gov (802) 398-5268.

  • Forest Economy Stabilization Program (FES) Forestry businesses, including those primarily engaged in managing, harvesting, trucking, processing, manufacturing, crafting, or distribution of forest or wood products derived from Vermont forests should apply for the $5 million FES Grant. Information is available Here.  

  • VT Agricultural Producers and Processors may apply for funding through the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. Visit the Agency's website for information about agricultural support from Senate Bill 351 Covid Agricultural Assistance 

  • USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Agricultural producers can now apply for USDA's CFAP, which provides direct payments to offset impacts from the pandemic. Applications will be accepted through August 28. More information and an  application can be found Here. 

  • New England Grassroots Fund - Seed Grant Program The Seed grant is available for community-based, local initiatives in response to COVID-19 and associated events. The Seed grant program has a brief online application and requests can be up to $1,000 (even if the applicant has an active grant or a pending application for another project.) Read more information about Rapid Response funding:  Seed Grant Program.

  • Municipal Planning Grants for Recovery  VT Department of Housing & Community Development. These flexible grants are ready to support projects for long-term recovery. Application deadline: October 1, 2020. MPG Apply online. 

  • EDA Grant Opportunity The US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration has released notice of funding and accompanying guidance determining how the $1.5 billion in federal funds from the CARES Act will be distributed to communities across the country. View the Grant Opportunity Here. 

  • Green Mountain United Way COVID-19 Emergency Relief & Response Fund Available funding for essential non-profit agencies within the GMUW service area of Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties. Download Application. Visit the link to GMUW Volunteer Connection seeking community volunteers to fulfill in-kind assistance for local organizations. 

  • Northeast Kingdom Special Loan Program

    The VT Economic Development Authority (VEDA) is offering low interest loans under its Small business Program to growing qualified businesses in Essex, Caledonia and Orleans counties. The NEK Program may make loans of up to $150,000 for fixed asset acquisition or for working capital purposes. Find out by visiting the website or by contacting Thomas Porter (802) 828-5460 Tporter@veda.org  VEDA

  • NVDA Revolving Loan Program - The Northeastern Vermont Development Association has a limited amount of loan funds available for businesses in Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans Counties. Funds may be used for the purchase of real property & equipment, working capital, and feasibility studies. Normal lending guidelines and rules apply. For more information, contact Judith Butson jbutson@nvda.net (802) 748-1222.

  • NCIC Revolving Loan Program - Northern Community Investment Corporation has extensive revolving loan programs targeted for helping NEK employers. Contact Jon Freeman for more information: jfreeman@ncic.org  (802) 748-1888.

  • Vermont Farm Fund - 2 Valuable Loan Programs: Business Builder Loans are for businesses to invest and innovate for growth to increase the availability of local foods in Vermont. Emergency Loans help businesses that have experienced a catastrophic event and need help to cover the shortfall between insurance coverage and the cost to rebuild. The Vermont Farm Fund offers no-hassle, friendly-term loans to local farmers and food producers. Find out more at www.vermontfarmfund.org. 

Source: Northeastern Vermont Development Association  www.nvda.net    7.14.2020