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Gov. Wolf Announces $225 Million Grant Program for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2020
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Gov. Wolf Announces $225 Million Grant Program for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

Harrisburg, PA — Governor Tom Wolf today announced a $225 million statewide grant program to support small businesses that were impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis and subsequent business closure order.

“As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and shift our focus toward reopening our commonwealth, we need to help all Pennsylvanians recover. We need to provide assistance for those who were hurt by the pandemic and the resulting economic downturn,” Gov. Wolf said. “This new program will provide direct support to impacted businesses to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and the transition to reopening.”

The funding was developed in partnership with state lawmakers and allocated through the recently enacted state budget, which included $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, of which $225 million was earmarked for relief for small businesses.

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will distribute the funds to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which will then administer the funding in the form of grants.

Eligible businesses will be able to use the grants to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and transition to re-opening, and for technical assistance including training and guidance for business owners as they stabilize and relaunch their businesses.

The funds will be available through three programs:

  • $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the governor’s March 19, 2020 order relating to the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses and have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19;
  • $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the business closure order, have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19, and in which socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51 percent interest and also control management and daily business operations.
  • $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program, which will allow the CDFIs the opportunity to offer forbearance and payment relief for existing portfolio businesses that are struggling due to the impact of COVID, as well as shore up the financial position of the CDFIs that are experiencing significant increased defaults in their existing loan portfolios.

“I want to thank Governor Wolf for engaging leadership in the General Assembly to inform the process of moving federal aid out to those who have been most harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. I also want to thank the leadership of the Senate Democratic caucus who worked with our members to formulate a strategic plan for the deployment of nearly $4 billion in federal assistance,” said state Senator John Blake (D-Lackawanna). “The Main Street Business Revitalization program is a reflection of that cooperation and leadership and it will meet Pennsylvania’s small business owners where they are, on Main Street, after nearly three months of lost or no sales. It will enable small business owners throughout the commonwealth to meet their insurance payments, rents, health insurance premiums, local taxes and other expenses that they otherwise could not meet due to lost sales. Finally, I want to thank the 17 CDFIs throughout the state as well as DCED for their professionalism, agility, urgency and dedication to getting this federal funding to the small businesses that need it most as quickly as possible.”

“The Main Street Business and Historically Disadvantaged Revitalization Programs will provide welcomed relief for mom and pop businesses in neighborhoods across the commonwealth. Since this pandemic began, we have heard the needs of the auto body shops, the barbershops, the beauticians, the pizza shop owners, the soul food establishments and other businesses in our communities. The needs of these businesses that were unable to get much needed help from other state and federal programs were a priority in our Senate Democratic Caucus’ April 29 PA CARES Program announcement,” said state Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery). “For months, my office has worked with a network of trusted community organizations that have a proven track record of working with our small businesses, the CDFIs, to find a solution to assist our neighborhood businesses. I believe these programs are that solution. There is still more work to be done, but these programs are a win for Pennsylvania and its small businesses.”

“Small businesses bore the brunt of the economic impacts of the pandemic. This investment is a good first step toward their recovery and the recovery of communities across the commonwealth,” said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “This program will benefit multiple diverse industries, brought forward from many partners in the legislature, including Reps. Jared Solomon, Morgan Cephas, Jake Wheatley, Ryan Bizzarro, Chris Sappey and Melissa Shusterman.”

The PA CDFI Network is a group of 17 PA-based community development financial institutions that primarily provide financing options for small businesses.

“We are pleased to work with the governor on the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance program to provide economic opportunities for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said James Burnett, vice chairman of the PA CDFI Network. “We know how important it is to support the smallest, most vulnerable businesses throughout the commonwealth, including historically disadvantaged and main street businesses.”

Pennsylvania Commissions Jointly Issue Statement Defending our First Amendment Right to Protest and Air Grievances

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2020
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Pennsylvania Commissions Jointly Issue Statement Defending our First Amendment Right to Protest and Air Grievances

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Commissions on African American, Latino, Asian Pacific American, Women and LGBTQ Affairs, overseen by Gov. Tom Wolf, released a joint statement today honoring the memory of George Floyd and other Americans of color who have lost their lives to police violence, and denouncing indoctrinated racism, bigotry and sanctioned violence.

“In the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, our nation has erupted into civil unrest. These protests are a byproduct of centuries of racism, bigotry, and sanctioned violence against black and brown communities. The anger and frustration being expressed nationally by communities of color has been fueled by a federal administration that has shown a complete disregard for the wellbeing of its citizens. We stand with the families of those who have lost their lives or have been affected by police violence and empathize with the feelings of outrage at a system that has yet to change.

“To be a strong, successful community, we need every Pennsylvanian – that includes Pennsylvanians who are Black. Amid deep grief and moral outrage, we see acts of grace and leadership. We are reminded that the Civil Rights Movement is not history because its great work is still unfinished. Every Pennsylvanian is called upon to take up this crucial work. We stand together in the presence of that righteous calling today.”

Jalila Parker, executive director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs stated:

“We are witnessing a public outcry, a demand for America to acknowledge the institutional and systemic pain the Black community has faced.  We affirm the rights of those who march, stand, or kneel. They are demonstrations of our collective grief; a tribute to all the Black lives lost to police brutality, violent crime, and COVID-19.  Although social distancing prevents us from wrapping our arms around you, we will not be silent in our pain, grief, love, and support.”

Luz Colon, executive director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs (GACLA), stated:

“(GACLA) expresses the sincerest condolences and deepest sympathies for the Floyd family and to all Americans directly and indirectly affected by racism against the Black and Brown communities across this great nation. Acts of bigotry, hatred, and racism will not define or destroy us – they never have, they never will. We will conquer together and get through this with our collective resilience. We will prove that isolated acts of hatred cannot undo the bonds that have unified our communities for centuries.”

Mohan Seshadri, executive director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, stated:

“Just as so many of our Black siblings stood with us over the past six months of COVID-inspired anti-Asian racism, we stand with our Black communities across Pennsylvania and the nation as they lead protests aimed straight at the racism at the heart of our systems. We know that if Asian communities in Pennsylvania are to have all we need to be safe, healthy, and strong, the same must be true of Black and Latinx communities, and we are committed to making that happen. We also hear the voices of Asian, Black, and Latinx small businesses devastated not just by the past few days, but by months of pandemic. Many of those impacted are community elders, new immigrants, and non-English speakers, and are therefore vulnerable to COVID-19, barely scraping by and lacking insurance. Our institutions should turn away from militarization, escalation, and violence, and instead invest in our communities, ensure justice for all, and provide support to assist those affected with recovering from the past few days, as well as reverse decades of exploitation, disinvestment, and neglect.”

Danielle Okai, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, stated:

“What we’ve seen unfolding on our screens over the past couple of days is the continuance of a rich legacy of protest and uprising that Americans who are Black have had to engage in since their first arrival on American shores. Study after study, as well as our lived experiences, reveal this undeniable fact: We live in a deeply, deeply unequal society. In Pennsylvania, as in many states, people who are Black are much more likely to die at the hands of police than any other group of Pennsylvanians. This is unacceptable. As a Black woman, I fear for my life, the lives of my loved ones, and the lives of all Black Pennsylvanians. Martin Luther King Jr. is beloved today, but in his time many feared his dogged pursuit of equality. Among the swells of protestors across our commonwealth, across our nation, and across the world marches the next generation of leaders – the next Fannie Lou Hamer, the next Ida B. Wells, the next June Jordan. Their struggle for peace will ensure a better world for us all.”

Rafael Álvarez Febo, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs, stated:

“As June dawns on us we are reminded that the Stonewall uprising was a riot, that those actions helped launch LGBTQ civil rights movements across the United States, and that they were led by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two transgender women of color, alongside other activists. We cannot separate what we celebrate as Pride month from the crucial actions taken by citizens in search of justice in an unjust system. Although there has been a few instances of violence and property damage, the overwhelming majority of people have taken to the streets to peacefully demonstrate and express their First Amendment rights.”

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