Anchorage expands business relief and mortgage assistance programs

Applications for both are now open, with more programs on the way
Published: Aug. 30, 2020 at 6:52 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Applications are now open for the Municipality of Anchorage’s expanded small business relief grant program. After an initial pilot program using $1 million from the Municipality’s CARES Act funds, the program has been expanded to $6 million, and the criteria for who qualifies has also opened up.

“In the first round, the number of employees that you had to have on the small business side were fewer than seven,” said Anchorage Chief of Staff Jason Bockentstedt. “So we’ve expanded it up to 20.”

Other requirements include:

  • Gross income of $1 million or less in 2019.
  • If the business is a sole proprietorship, single-member LLC, or S-corp with only one shareholder, they must have received at least 75% of their gross income from the business in 2019.
  • Must not be age-restricted, such as liquor stores, bars, or marijuana dispensaries.
  • Must not be a franchise.

The program does not exclude any businesses that accepted grants or loans from other sources, such as the Paycheck Protection Program.

Applications for the program will be open through September 12, after which, approved businesses will receive a $10,000 grant. If more businesses apply than there is available funding, a third party will conduct a random selection process. However, businesses on the wait-list from the pilot program will not have to go through random selection.

“We’re going to try to run through those and re-verify with all of them and then move on to everyone that is applying this round,” Bockenstedt said.

While the program does exclude bars, one of the hardest-hit industries in Anchorage during the pandemic, a separate $14.1 million was allocated by the Assembly to go to the hospitality and tourism industries. Bockenstedt said the program to get those funds out the door is in the works and that he hopes to have it rolled out in roughly the next week.

“We have kind of a general framework set up, and now we’re working with [the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association] and others to figure out how do we get that money out into the hands of the tourism and hospitality industries as quickly as possible,” he said.

He also pointed to the recently-expanded rent and mortgage assistance program the Municipality is running, which is not restricted by industry.

“If they have employees that have been furloughed or had their hours reduced, this is also another line of assistance that is available to them on an individual level,” he said.

To apply for mortgage or rental assistance, individuals can call 211 to set up an interview to provide documentation that shows how COVID-19 has impacted your finances. Qualifying individuals can receive up to $1000 a month for three months, paid directly to landlords or mortgage lenders.

Other CARES programs still in the works for the Municipality are a grant program for nonprofits, and a “cultural pillar” relief program.

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