WESTFIELD – Following a successful round of emergency assistance to small businesses from CARES ACT funding through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the city has allocated an additional $60,000 in 2020 CDBG funds to the program.
The initial program assisted 26 local businesses with monthly expenses including rent, utilities, business inventory expenses and business payroll.
“I am very pleased that we’re able to assist additional businesses in the City through our Community Block Grant Program.” stated Mayor Donald F. Humason Jr. in the announcement.
Businesses citywide are eligible for this program so long as they comply with regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. HUD requires that all funds expended benefit individuals from low-and-moderate income households. Local businesses can qualify in one of two ways-first, if the business has five or less employees and the business owner resides in a low-or-moderate income household; or second, if the business commits to retaining employment for an individual who lives in a low-or-moderate income household for a one-year period.
Grant funds may be used for the following purposes: Business lease or mortgage payments, business utility payments, business monthly debt payments, business payroll, business inventory expenses, and other expenses as might be approved by the Community Development team.
CDBG Coordinator Leanne Cloutier said they want to offer additional funds to businesses that were on hold.
“We had over 50 businesses that had originally reached out,” Cloutier said, adding that some didn’t complete the application, and others didn’t qualify for the low-to-moderate income requirements.
The initial round offered grants of between $2,500 and $10,000, paying out more than $180,000. The grant application is available on the city website under Community Development.
Cloutier, who previously served as executive assistant to former Mayor Brian P. Sullivan, said she is enjoying her new position. “I came at a time when it kept us super busy. Twenty-six more grants than they ever have done. It’s a feel-good thing because you’re helping out the businesses,” she said
Cloutier also said she just learned that they will be receiving an additional $330,455 in emergency CARES Act funding for CDBG grants later in the fall, in addition to their annual funding of $368,477.
For more information or an application, contact the office of Community Development at [email protected] or at 413-572-6244.