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The funding will go towards local businesses and rental assistance for those in need.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - The Hillsboro Civic Center, as seen from the nearby Charles D. Cameron Public Services Building.The city of Hillsboro is providing $1.1 million in short-term relief measures during the coronavirus pandemic, according to city officials in a press release on March 19.

Starting on March 23, Hillsboro business owners and community members who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 will be able to apply for assistance from the city of Hillsboro using the city's website.

"The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis is forcing many of our small- and medium-sized businesses to reduce their hours, send their employees home, or close altogether," said Mayor Steve Callaway. "This $1.1 million in relief will have an immediate impact on our small businesses and their workers who depend upon their paychecks to cover their monthly bills, including rent for housing. Hopefully, this can help our community keep things going while we wait for assistance from the state and federal government."

The funding includes $500,000 in emergency business support grants. The city will help small businesses and entrepreneurs immediately offset the short-term financial impacts of COVID-19 containment efforts, including instruction for closure or operational curtailment from the federal government and the state.

The grants of up to $5,000 will be available from March 23 through the end of April 2020, and applications will be reviewed by a panel of community partners such as the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, Centro de Prosperidad and the city of Hillsboro.

To qualify, businesses must have a facility located in Hillsboro and a current business license within the city.

Priority will be given to businesses with 10 employees or fewer; businesses that are a food and drink establishment, education or daycare facility, or businesses that rely on larger gatherings of people; and businesses that are open and operational or have been forced to close.

As for other funding, the city is working to set-up a low-interest loan program for small- and medium-sized businesses in need of financial support because of COVID-19 containment efforts and the instruction for closure or operation cuts from the federal or state government. Details are still being finalized.

For households struggling to pay rent, the city will immediately contribute $50,000 to help. The city will coordinate with Community Action to help 42 households with up to $1,200 in rental assistance right away. This will be followed by an additional $50,000 from the city.

"The COVID-19 crisis highlights the importance of having a diverse economic base consisting of businesses of all sizes and from a variety of market sectors and industries," said economic and community development director Dan Dias. "Hillsboro has been able to build a strong economic base throughout the community's history. It is a strong reminder of why Hillsboro continues to prioritize economic development policies and programs to benefit the entire community."

Funding for the $1.1 million in community relief will come from community services fees previously paid by businesses participating in Hillsboro's Enterprise Zone, as well as revenues previously generated by businesses participating in Oregon's Strategic Investment program, according to the press release.

The newly announced funding is in addition to existing city of Hillsboro funding that supports small businesses and provides rental assistance.

As for continued measures against COVID-19, city employees are working to set up an organized area to help community members experiencing homelessness, who are among the vulnerable populations and need additional attention.

This action is part of an effort to avoid a larger demand for hospitalization later on by caring for people right now, added the announcement.

The city's economic development team is also engaging with businesses by providing information about best practices and resources available at the regional, state and federal levels. City employees are coordination with local restaurants to help publicize which restaurants continue to serve meals to customers via take-out, drive-through and delivery.

For more information, visit: Hillsboro-Oregon.gov.


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