The City of Seattle is committed to keeping you updated through these challenging and unprecedented times. In this weekly blog, we’ll provide you with news and information about resources available and policies from the City of Seattle, the State of Washington, the federal government, and our philanthropic partners.
Mayor Durkan Announces Initial 250 Grant Awards through City’s Small Business Stabilization Fund
Yesterday, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the initial 250 grantees of the City’s $2.5 million Small Business Stabilization Fund. The fund provides $10,000 grants to small businesses financially impacted by COVID-19. You can find out more about the Stabilization Fund here, including a complete list of businesses that received Stabilization Fund awards.
Nearly 9,000 small businesses applied for the first round of the City’s Small Business Stabilization Fund, which underscores that the need goes far beyond what the City can provide without further support from the private sector, philanthropic partners, and economic relief from the federal government.
Comcast has donated $50,000 to address the urgent need for future rounds of the Stabilization Fund. This investment will help ensure we can continue providing direct capital assistance to small business owners struggling to support their employees and stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interested individuals and organizations can donate to the Stabilization Fund by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re here to help
We know many people have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling to keep up with rent and other basic costs of living. Here are a few steps the City of Seattle has taken to ease these burdens, and links to resources that can help.
Rental assistance for King County residents
On Friday, April 10, Mayor Durkan joined with King County Executive Constantine and United Way of King County to announce an expanded rental assistance program. Thanks to generous donations to the Community Relief Fund and a variety of community partners, one month of rental assistance is being offered to people in King County struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus. If you’re a King County resident who has been impacted financially by COVID-19 and are behind on your rent, you may qualify for assistance. If you meet these requirements, please fill out the online application at www.uwkc.org/renthelp.
Emergency Food Vouchers: Seattle expanded our emergency grocery voucher program to provide $800 in vouchers to 1,000 working people who have recently lost their job or experienced a significant reduction in hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These vouchers can be used to purchase food, cleaning supplies, and other household goods at any Safeway store in Washington State. Learn more here.
Food Support for Seattle Public School Students: Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is distributing lunches from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every weekday at 26 school sites throughout the city. All SPS students can participate. These 26 sites will become central locations for family and student resource distribution. Find a site here.
The City of Seattle also has a comprehensive COVID-19 website to help you navigate food, child care, small business, and other resources. To find a breakdown of all city, state, and nonprofit food resources, visit our website now: http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/covid-19#foodsupport.
A new guide for local, state and federal resources
We’ve got a new OED COVID-19 website!
The Office of Economic Development (OED) has created a new comprehensive resource page that’s a one-stop-shop for workers and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. You can find out more about loans, grants, and other resources available at the city, state, and federal levels.
Join the weekly webinars with OED
OED hosts weekly webinars for small businesses to share new developments, hear about the impacts you are experiencing, and answer your questions. Please join us Wednesdays, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
We will be rescheduling our next webinar for April 22, and you can register for that webinar here. Please share this with anyone you think might be interested in attending. We look forward to seeing you next week!
Find our April 9 webinar notes and information here.
Seattle & King County resources
Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) now has downloadable signs to print and post to help minimize risk of COVID-19. They’re available in multiple languages and are useful resources for grocery stores, restaurants, childcare facilities, and apartment buildings.
These signs can help establishments communicate with their customers and staff the steps they are taking to minimize the risk of COVID-19. Find the downloadable posters here.
Puget Sound Energy assistance
Puget Sound Energy (PSE) will make funds available to help customers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through its Crisis-Affected Customer Assistance Program (CACAP). This includes customers who recently became unemployed, partially unemployed, or cannot work.
Washington State resources
The closure of so many businesses in our state has created record-high unemployment rates. If you or your employees are seeking help with unemployment, the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) has some excellent new resources.
They have compiled an FAQ for businesses, as well as an FAQ for workers that contains lots of links to other resources. Also, ESD has a new eligibility checker that makes it easier to figure out whether you qualify for unemployment benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wait times for help from the ESD can be long. If you need help but aren’t able to wait on hold, you can now schedule a call back.
The federal government has created several new loan programs to support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a variety of SBA loan options and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. To find out more about these and other resources, see our OED COVID-19 Resources for Businesses page.
To find out more about SBA loan resources and to access support, visit our SBA Disaster Loan Technical Assistance webpage.
OED is continuing to offer technical assistance with SBA loan applications and is also helping small businesses understand the federal Coronavirus Aids, Relief & Security (CARES) Act. OED has assisted more than 60 small businesses so far. For assistance, please email OED@seattle.gov or call 206-684-8090.
For more information on applying for SBA and PPP loans, see our website.
Support for completing PPP applications
The community and economic development non-profit NDC is offering a free webinar this Friday (12-1:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time) to help businesses applying for a PPP loan. This webinar will provide a line by line overview of the PPP application process. Webinar participants will walk through the PPP application requirements live with a NDC GAF Loan Officer, and thereby gain a strong understanding of the steps needed to put together a successful PPP application.
Register for the webinar here.
SBA debt relief
If you are a small business owner with an existing SBA loan, the SBA is now providing financial relief for loan payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of these debt-relief efforts, the SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months. You can find more information about this important program here.
Beware of scams, frauds and phishing—the SBA will not initiate contact with you about either 7(a) or Disaster loans or grants. If someone unexpectedly contacts you claiming to be from the SBA, suspect fraud. Learn more here.