July 23, 2021

In Multnomah County, on Thursday, July 22, the Board of Governors voted unanimously in favor of the $ 5.05 million grant for economic relief for small businesses in Oregon.

The state originally received funding from the Federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. According to the Board, the money will go to local chambers of commerce and other community-based organizations to distribute to local businesses affected by public health restrictions and economic disruptions following the Covand-19 epidemic.

In addition to his role as director of the County Office of Sustainability, John Wasiwski, who serves as COVID-19 Economic Relief and Rehabilitation Coordinator as Deborah Kafori, spoke to the board. He noted that the Federal Trade Assistance Initiative (PPP) loan program did not distribute money fairly across the race lines. According to a study by the Brookings Institution, small businesses with very limited cash flows have finally received PPP loans.

“We know that there are differences in the ability of black and minority business owners to access this funding. That was the difference before the epidemic, but it was transferred to this special fund. ”

In November 2020, Multinoma County received $ 7.6 million in state funding from CARES to help local small businesses affected by the Covide-19 restrictions. The county added $ 400,000 in CARES legal resources to bring total small business relief to $ 8 million.

Multinoma County has distributed $ 5.3 million to licensed restaurants, bed and breakfast, charities, food trucks, grocery stores and limited service restaurants. The county has partnered with five partners: four culturally oriented community-based organizations and one geo-limited organization – to provide the remaining $ 2.7 million in historically incomplete and neglected cultural and geographical communities.

In response to this recent funding, Wasutinsky, Multinoma County is following in the footsteps of its partners last year in expanding the number of partners to expand access to the program. Partners of this round include the Black American Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Hasian CDC, the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce, the Asia-Pacific Network Oregon, the Oregon-American American Chamber, the Native American Youth and Family Center, and the Oregon Micro Enterprise Services.

The funds will provide direct financial support to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, as well as loan forgiveness, business lease relief and business support and technical support.

The most notable of these assignments is the $ 205,000 increase from the Multnomah County Emergency Fund to support program management needs. The state funding cap program administration spends 5 percent. However, according to county budget director Christian Elkin, it is generally not enough for county staff to cover administrative burdens, and many are employed by a limited number of staff.

“The district should have known that the work we are asking these groups to do with us in the effort to reduce those obstacles is going beyond their normal routine, and we know that the administrative infrastructure is already there. We are weak in response to Kovid and in the partnership we are asking them to participate in, ”said Elkin.

The steps taken to ensure that the county compensates its colleagues adequately and appropriately are a reflection of the severity of their work and the importance of diversity.

“As we apply that lens of equity, we do not want to impose more burden on these communities, which are entrusted by the county with the most difficult communities. [communities] The worst is yet to come. ” Approving this budget amendment “will then allow us to send a 10 percent program management to each of those who will help us export these grants.”

After the county finishes contracting with partner organizations, most partners will open an application for applications. More business owners in Multnomah County can find more information on the county’s COVID-19 business resources website recently.