Our analysis has found that cities, counties, states, and community organizations have established more than 800 programs to provide financial assistance to small businesses in the wake of the pandemic. These programs have deployed more than $9.27 billion in grants and loans. They have been fast, tailored to local needs, and have filled critical gaps in federal aid. They have helped businesses stay afloat and retool.
Most of these programs have run out of funds, some within hours of launching. One important way Congress should address the unprecedented crisis facing small business is by quickly providing the resources local governments need to do this important work.
The brief provides a deep analysis of the many programs that have helped independent businesses during this crisis.
However, the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund’s money has now been depleted, and local and state government budgets are drained. The relief programs provided by local and state governments have kept hundreds of thousands of small businesses afloat so far and helped them adapt to the surreal commercial environment the pandemic has created. But absent additional and ongoing funding these crucial programs will cease, leaving hundreds of thousands of small businesses at risk of going under in the coming months. Local programs are not a substitute for the kind of direct federal assistance that small businesses need and that many other nations are providing. But local programs are a critical part of the solution because they are able to respond effectively and creatively to local needs and circumstances. Without swift Congressional action on a relief package, this winter could be the toughest yet for America’s small businesses.
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