Econ 919 — AK CARES grants availble June 1

May 22, 2020


Now that the Alaska Legislature and governor have come to an agreement about how federal COVID-19 relief funds will be distributed on the Kenai Peninsula, the final details are being worked out to get that money passed through to communities.

Just under $290 million will be made available to small businesses and certain nonprofit organizations through Alaska CARES grants. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority will be the umbrella organization overseeing the grant program and Credit Union One was selected to be the financial institution processing applications and making payments. 

The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District is tasked with public outreach about how the program will work.

“I know folks have been kind of frustrated over the last couple of months about what was going on and when moneies will become available,” said Tim Dillon, executive director of KPEDD. “For the $290 million that will be out there for small business relief, that is statewide and it’s all in grants. There’s no loan with the potential of it being a grant, it is a straight grant right from the beginning. So we’ve been working through the polices and procedures. And everybody had their ideas on what they thought should happen. And the bottom line was there was a variety of us that said, 'We need to get money and we need to get it to our small businesses and we've got to get it to them ASAP without nine million strings attached to it.'”

Businesses with less than 500 full-time employees and 501c3, c6 and c9 nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. They have to be in good standing with the state and federal government, be based in Alaska and have been in business for over a year, for businesses, or two years for nonprofits. They can’t have received other federal relief funds. Grant amounts will be determined on their past eight weeks of eligible expenses and the next eight weeks of projected expenses — expenses like payroll, utilities, rent or mortgage payments and the costs of replacing inventory or gearing up to get back to work after the government-mandated economic shutdown. 

“It’s for those kinds of things and it’s going to help a lot of people. You know, $290 million hopefully will go pretty far," Dillon said.

There are some stipulations on what expenses you can claim, but Dillon says they’re thinking through what will be most helpful for businesses.

“As you can see, there’s a lot of flexibility. KPEDD will help answer questions and make sure that people have the ability to do some of this because everything is going to be done online,” Dillon said.

Applications through Credit Union One will only be taken online. KPEDD is offering computer access and assistance for anyone unable to file an application at home. The application period opens June 1.

More information on the program is available on the state Commerce Department website. Applications will be taken through Credit Union One’s website starting Monday.

 

Today’s number is 24. That’s the percentage of Kenai Peninsula residents who have filled out the 2020 census so far — not near the goal census organizers have set. The census can be completed online over the phone at 844-330-2020 or by returning the paper census sent in the mail or left on your doorknob.