Pandemic relief funding proposed for Parkersburg small businesses & residents in need

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Final approval will have to come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for two proposals pending in Parkersburg to potentially provide pandemic relief funding to small businesses and residents with lower incomes.

“It’s really about taking care of your own and investing in the future,” said Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce

On Tuesday night, members of Parkersburg’s City Council were scheduled to meet via Microsoft Teams.

The meeting was to be streamed live on YouTube beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The agenda included the two proposals for the spending of nearly $530,000 in additional Community Development Block Grant funding allocated to Parkersburg in the federal CARES Act, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act.

As proposed, $300,000 would go into Parkersburg’s Small Business Relief Fund while just under $230,000 would be designated for Parkersburg’s Family Relief Fund.

Joyce said businesses with fewer than ten employees were priorities for the Small Business Relief Fund offering potentially forgivable loans of up to $5,000 if certain conditions were met.

“We feel that the small businesses are the backbone here in Parkersburg, as they are in most places, and anything we can do to help them survive, particularly this quarter and the next quarter, is just going to pay dividends for the City of Parkersburg moving forward,” said Mayor Joyce.

Eligibility requirements included being in business for at least one year as of March 1 and not owing overdue city fees as of the end of Dec. 2019.

The Family Relief Fund was to provide short-term emergency payments to residents meeting certain income guidelines for as long as three months to help keep people from being evicted from their homes or seeing utility shutoffs.

Application details from both funds were not immediately available.

The exact timeline of availability depended on HUD approval.

“Our hope is that this money is available sometime in June,” Mayor Joyce said.

He saw it as supplemental funding to keep businesses and residents in Parkersburg going at a time of crisis.

“The opportunity for true recovery is not too far around the corner and I encourage citizens across West Virginia to really take the opportunity to support their local businesses and their local business owners,” Joyce said.

That support, in his view, was key to coronavirus pandemic recovery.

“We’re not going to get through this if we don’t take care of our own,” he told MetroNews.

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