The application window for the second round of Kenai Peninsula Borough CARES funding for nonprofits, small businesses and commercial fishermen closed Friday. While the second round functioned in many ways like the first, there was a noticeable difference in the applicant pool.
“This round, we definitely had an uptick in those commercial fishers that wanted to submit applications, either online, or even coming in for assistance with the applications,” said Brenda Ahlberg, the borough’s community and fiscal projects manager.
Ahlberg said she thinks the difference is in the timing of this application window. When the borough was soliciting applications for the first round of CARES grants this summer, the fishermen were, well, fishing. Now that they’ve packed up their nets for the season, they’ve had more time to take stock of their losses and apply for funding.
Through its CARES program, the borough hopes to provide a lifeline to fishermen who fish within borough boundaries. This season was particularly difficult for commercial fishermen in the borough and across the state, due to poor fishing returns and financial burdens related to the pandemic.
Nonprofits and small businesses outside city boundaries were also eligible to apply for this round of CARES funding. As of Friday afternoon, 28 nonprofits had submitted applications for grants, while 237 small businesses — including fishermen — had applied. The borough is still counting the applications that rolled in closer to the 5 p.m. deadline.
Ahlberg said the numbers look in line with what the borough expected for the second period of CARES applications. The borough has allocated $2.5 million for this round.
Should there be funds left over, the borough will make recommendations to the assembly at its Oct. 13 meeting about how it can get the funds out into the community.