Governor Kevin Stitt today announced two new grant programs to support Oklahomans impacted by the presence of COVID-19. Leveraging CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), the State is dedicating $10 million towards an Eviction Mitigation grant program in partnership with local non-profits and is dedicating $100 million to the Oklahoma Business Relief Program in partnership with local financial institutions.
“As Oklahoma begins to re-open businesses, it is critical we help our neighbors who are at risk of losing their homes due to the sudden disruption in our economy,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt. “In a recent review of the pending eviction cases in Tulsa County that are not covered by the CARES Act, 75% of these cases did not have a previous eviction filed. The pandemic has resulted in a number of Oklahomans facing housing instability and food insecurity, and thanks to collaborative ideas from the State Legislature and funding support from our Congressional delegation, we can be confident that Oklahoma will rise stronger as we begin our recovery process.”
Oklahoma Business Relief Program
The Governor also announced today the creation of the Oklahoma Business Relief Program (OBRP) to support local businesses impacted by COVID-19. OBRP offers vital funding for businesses that have suffered revenue loss due to the pandemic.
In the coming weeks, participating financial institutions will process business applications and submit approved applications to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Applications will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis and grant funds will be provided to the business through the financial institution. During the first phase of applications, at least 20% of the program funds will be designated for minority owned businesses.
“As businesses begin to ramp up their operations again, we know that they still face many barriers,” said Stitt. “Through this program, we can give Oklahoma companies access to much needed funds to bridge the gap while they work to get back up to speed, both in terms of operations and revenues.”
Interested businesses will request an application from a participating financial institution and will apply through that institution. The financial institution will evaluate the application to initially determine the business’s eligibility based on the program rules. If approved, the financial institution will submit the application to Commerce on behalf of the business for a final eligibility determination. The grant funds will be given to the business by the participating financial institution.
To qualify, the business must have suffered a revenue loss of 25% or more from January to May 2020 compared to the same months in 2019. The revenue loss must be substantially caused by the impact of COVID-19.
The program is open to all industries that qualified for the U.S. Treasury Payroll Protection Program (PPP) with an addition of 501(c)(6) organizations that do not lobby. Other business eligibility restrictions apply and can be found at okcommerce.gov/relief.
“We designed this program to be similar to the federal PPP program which proved to be beneficial to many Oklahoma companies,” said Sean Kouplen, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce & Workforce Development. “By making it needs based, expanding our program to 501(c)(6) entities and ensuring that 20 percent of program funds are paid to minority businesses, we are confident that this program will help Oklahoma companies of all sizes navigate the coming months as we continue to work to help our economy recover.”
The following is the schedule for the program:
- June 19: Financial institutions can begin applying to be a vendor with the State in order to facilitate the economic grants
- June 22-23: OBRP Lender Training for participating financial institutions (optional)
- June 29 – July 10: Small businesses can apply for the economic grants through participating financial institutions.
- July 10: Deadline for businesses to apply for funds through their financial institution
- July 17: Distribution of economic grants will begin
Further dates will be announced after the first round of applications for economic grants are received.
Grants will be awarded to approved companies in the amount equal to two months of average total payroll with a maximum award of $25,000. The business may choose from the average of its 2019 total payroll or the average of its total payroll from January-February. Payroll definition is the same as the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
Details on program eligibility and administrative processes can be found at www.okcommerce.gov/relief.
There are no mandates for the grant expenditures, but suggested usage includes payroll, inventory, equipment and working capital.
Eviction Mitigation Program
The Eviction Mitigation program will provide reimbursements to organizations paying landlords for rental assistance to individuals or families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Individual and families will be capped at $3,600 in eviction mitigation. Administered through local non-profits, the State is partnering in Tulsa County with Restore Hope, Schusterman Family Foundation, Legal Aid and Community Action and in Oklahoma County with Communities Foundation of Oklahoma, Inasmuch Foundation, Legal Aid, Community Action Partnership and Upward Transitions.