As of Aug. 20, a total of 67 grants representing $351,000 have been distributed to University Place businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdown. The funds came from the $992,700 the City received from the State of Washington as part of the federal CARES Act.
Eligible businesses that applied for a grant by the deadline of July 22 received support. The majority of the funds were distributed by July 31. For Becky Metcalf, project assistant in the Economic Development Department who handled the distribution of the grants, the effort was extremely rewarding.
“It was so satisfying to give out those checks. We know it was not enough to totally alleviate all the financial concerns of our local businesses, but we hope that what we were able to provide was helpful,” she says.
Metcalf reports that 21 grants were awarded to home-based businesses and another six were given to businesses that have been in operation for more than 20 years. “That was one of our primary goals, to make sure that all of our businesses, small or large, new or established, could have equal access to these grants,” Metcalf says.
In addition to the business grants, the City Council also allotted $100,000 of the federal CARES funds to assist qualified residents of U.P. who can demonstrate a substantial loss of income due to COVID-19. The balance of the CARES money will be used to reimburse City taxpayers for expenses incurred by the City related to COVID-19 response, including personal protective equipment, remote work technology, and a portion of salaries for those with COVID-19 response efforts, including public safety personnel.