|District Update | April 7, 2020
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I am pleased with how quickly the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) acted to support central Arkansas through funds directly to municipalities and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC).
These grants, which total over $23.6 million, come from the CARES Act and will support COVID-19 responses. The majority of the funds come from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which can be used to make improvements to public facilities necessary to the COVID-19 response, support businesses to increase economic development, and provide increased public services during the outbreak.
The CARES Act allocated $5 billion to the CDBG program, and the first round of CDBG grants released and additional funding will be made available on a rolling basis. The following Arkansas municipalities received CDBG grants:
Conway - $269,734
Jacksonville - $123,984
Little Rock - $879,049, along with an additional $81,216 from the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.
North Little Rock - $406,388
Fayetteville - $436,285
Fort Smith - $530,840
Hot Springs - $254,743
Jonesboro - $362,524
Pine Bluff - $411,412
Rogers - $270,024
Springdale - $478,318
Texarkana - $165,006
West Memphis - $186,531
In addition to the grants made directly to municipalities, HUD awarded AEDC over $10.8 million in CDBG funds to distribute, over $7.8 million from the Emergency Solutions Grant program, and $133,620 in HOPWA funding.
The United States Treasury’s Paycheck Protection Program went live on April 3, 2020. It authorizes up to $349 billion toward job retention and other expenses for the millions of Americans employed by small businesses.
Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, veterans’ organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. For additional information from the Treasury's website, visit HERE.
Which banks in Arkansas are ready to provide Paycheck Protection Program loans?
The chart below outlines the current Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders in Arkansas. The ones under the preferred status are current preferred 7(a) lenders with the SBA and have the authority to provide PPP loans. Other banks should be granted authority in the near term.
Yesterday, I joined Charles Payne on Fox Business to discuss how the CARES Act will jumpstart the U.S. economy and carry us through to the other side of the COVID-19 crisis. We covered how the Paycheck Protection Program, the expansion of Unemployment Insurance (UI), and one-time tax rebates directly to the American people will support families and businesses. Click HERE or on the image below to watch the full interview.
I was pleased to learn that Allstate, Esurance, and Encompass are giving their personal auto insurance customers a Shelter-in-Place Payback. Most customers will receive 15% of their monthly premium in April and May, which adds up to more than $600 million. Customers will receive their money back through a credit to their bank account, credit card or Allstate account. The fastest way for customers to receive this payback is to utilize the Allstate Mobile app which can be found HERE.
To read more, click HERE or on the image below.
I’m proud that Arkansans are stepping up and setting an example of leadership during this crisis. Thank you to the Little Rock School District (LRSD) for providing 3D printers that are being used by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) to create the headband piece of protective face shields. This partnership between UALR, the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses is taking the lead on mass-producing face shields to meet the needs of healthcare professionals in Little Rock and eventually, Arkansas.
I appreciated Dr. Lawrence Whitman, Dean of UALR College of Engineering and Information Technology, Jay Chessir, CEO of Little Rock Regional Chamber, and all of the students who explained the manufacturing process to me on Friday afternoon.
If you are able, help support your local restaurants with take out and pick up orders. As I'm sure you're aware, social distancing measures in place to slow the spread of the virus have had a tremendous impact on our restaurants. By still patronizing your favorite spots, you can help them weather this crisis and make it through to the other side.
For a list of restaurants that are offering carry out, curbside pick up, and delivery for their customers, click HERE or on the image below.
Representative French Hill