Small businesses awarded grants and legal services
Small businesses continue to benefit from Forest Grove and Washington County amidst troubling times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using federal CARES Act funds from Washington County, the City of Forest Grove awarded $179,639 in grants to 54 local small businesses in Forest Grove with 25 or fewer employees, that sustained losses resulting from COVID-19. Of the 54 businesses awarded grants, 84 percent were owned by either a minority, woman, veteran, or a combination thereof. The grants were available to all small businesses who were able to demonstrate lost revenues during April and May.
"The City is well aware of the burden that this pandemic has placed upon our businesses," Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax said. "The importance to our community of these small businesses is without question, and our sincerest hope is that this second round of grant awards will increase business resiliency and a stronger future. In addition, the awards indicate Forest Grove's strength of diversity in small business."
Since the onset of the pandemic, the City has awarded over $312,000 in small business assistance. In April and May, the City awarded approximately $133,000 in grants to small businesses who were required to close or curtail operations as a result of COVID-19 related executive orders. Those grants were initially funded by City revenues, but then paid back by federal CARES Act funds. The grants are part of a suite of resources the City has provided to help businesses address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the grants, Washington County has authorized a contract with the Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC) to provide legal services to a limited number of small businesses referred by staff at the four Washington County Business Recovery Centers. Furthermore, to individual business legal counseling, the SBLC has graciously offered to provide two general presentations on topics such as risk reduction and/or navigating the changing world of COVID-19 regulations.
Due to said contract being funded by Washington County's allocation of federal CARES Act dollars, businesses that seek these services will have to meet the following guidelines: be physically located in Washington County; and self-certify that they were negatively impacted by COVID-19.
The SBLC can take appointments from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with all services to be provided prior to Dec. 31, 2020. At this point, most appointments would be scheduled through video conferencing. The SBLC will consider the option of face-to-face meetings, which was how the they supported clients before the pandemic, depending on how the situation unfolds throughout the fall.
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