3/30/20 COVID-19 Resource Update

March 30, 2020

COVID-19 Resource Update

GFDC plans to send weekly (potentially twice weekly) updates on relief resources relating to COVID-19 as long as we have updates to report. Please forward as you see fit, and refer anyone to sign up for our newsletters at the link below.

Click to sign up for our newsletter and COVID-19 Updates

 

Quick Links

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Small Businesses. Apply at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/

U.S. Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Resources & Guidelines for Businesses

Maine Farm Product and Pick-Up Directory and the Submission Form to get listed on the directory

Americans for the Arts COVID-19 Response and Resource Center

Governor Mills' Newsroom for updates from the Governor's office.

Frequently Asked Questions – Layoffs and Unemployment Compensation in Maine

Frequently Asked Questions - Newly Enacted Federal Paid Leave Law: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Upcoming Webinars

Survival Skills: Navigating Cash Flow Crunch During Crisis Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 12 pm | Via Zoom | Register

Survival Skills: Marketing Through Crisis Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 12 pm | Via Zoom | Register

Coronavirus: Legal and Practical HR Guidance for Employers Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Via Zoom | Register

Q&A Thursday with SBDC Business Advisors Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 11 am | Via Zoom | Register

The Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act

We have found this document to be the most comprehensive and helpful summary of the CARES act's benefits for small business owners that we've seen so far. It has particularly good information on the "Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)" to clarify some questions we've heard from the business community.

Some specific points that we found helpful:

  • PPP will forgive up to 8 weeks of payroll (detailed on page 2)
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans can be refinanced to PPP loans (pages 3, 8)
  • How to receive forgiveness on your PPP loan (page 4)
  • The Small Business Debt Relief Program is separate from the PPP loan and cannot be combined (page 6)
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (up to $2 million) and grants (up to $10,000) (page 7) - these grants are a new addition to the EIDL program!

An additional note: The CARES Act was passed just last Friday. The SBA currently does not have specific information about how the CARES Act related loan programs will be administered. They will provide information to lenders when information is available. Be patient with your lenders - everyone is developing the new programs as quickly as they can!

Franklin County Business Owners Facebook Group

A Facebook group has been created by local business owners to bring some immediate, local connection to people facing the same issues right now. This group is intended for business owners in Greater Franklin County, Maine.

COVID 19 – CEI Business Directory Form

Shopping locally can help keep our families, businesses and communities strong. CEI is developing a business directory to let your customers know how they can best support your business during the COVID-19 Social Distancing period.

If you would like your business to be added to the Business Directly, just fill out this form. The finished directory will be shared on social media over the coming weeks and it offers a FREE and easy way to reach both a local and statewide audience – so it is ideal for any of you who have the ability to ship products."

Contact Lorri Brown with questions at lorri.brown@ceimaine.org

Our View: Broadband is a lifesaver in COVID crisis - Portland Press Herald

"The ConnectMe Authority, a state agency that promotes the expansion of broadband, estimates that it would cost between $150 million and $450 million in public and private investment to serve every part of the state. Not all of that has to come from taxpayers. State funds, like the money that would be raised by the bond issue, would draw federal matching funds would be used to attract private partners. Maine can multiply its investment, but we can’t just wait for the private sector to figure this out."

Consider this a call to action from us at GFDC. Take this information to your fellow citizens in preparation for town meeting debates. GFDC has done a broadband plan for each town in the county (you can view that plan on our website here) and have been working to combine public and private resources to get our county connected. There is a path forward if the citizens recognize the need for investment and demand action from their towns!

Protect yourself financially from the impact of the Coronavirus - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

As you plan for the potential impact of the Coronavirus, there are a number of steps that you can take to help protect yourself or a loved one financially, both in the short and long term.

Read here for steps to take in the following situations:

FAME Partners with SBA, ME Lenders on COVID-19 Relief Loan Programs

"The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) is partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and local Maine lenders to offer special, limited-time loans and loan insurance to eligible Maine businesses affected by COVID-19.

FAME and participating lenders will make special terms available to Maine-based businesses that have experienced interruption or hardship due to COVID-19. Various benefits include: loans up to $50,000 offered at reduced interest rates; interest-only payments; up to 75% pro-rata loan insurance on loans up to $100,000; interim financing in conjunction with the SBA wherein FAME makes loan proceeds available while approved SBA borrowers await federal funding."

USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19

Single-Family Housing

Effective March 19, borrowers with USDA single-family housing Direct and Guaranteed loans are subject to a moratorium on foreclosure and eviction for a period of 60 days. This action applies to the initiation of foreclosures and evictions and to the completion of foreclosures and evictions in process.

Guaranteed Loan Program:

  • Guaranteed Loan borrowers who are in default or facing imminent default due to a documented hardship can have payments reduced or suspended by their lender for a period not to exceed 12 months delinquency. Once the hardship is resolved, the lender can modify the loan to cure the delinquency or make up the missed payments based on the borrower’s individual circumstances.
  • Guaranteed Loan servicing questions should be directed to: sfhgld.program@usda.gov.

Direct Loan Program:

  • USDA has waived or relaxed certain parts of the application process for Single-Family Housing Direct Loans, including site assessments, and has extended the time period that certificates of eligibility are valid.
  • A Direct Loan borrower who is experiencing a reduction of income by more than 10 percent can request a Payment Assistance package to see if he/she is eligible for payment assistance or for more assistance than currently received.
  • Moratorium Assistance is available for Direct Loan borrowers experiencing medical bill expenses (not covered by insurance) or job loss because of COVID-19. Qualifying borrowers can receive a moratorium on house payments for a period of time, repaid at a later date.
  • Direct Loan questions should be directed to USDA’s Customer Service Center at 800-414-1226 (7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday-Friday) or https://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/loan-servicing.

Multi-Family Housing

Three immediate steps are effective for Section 515 Multi-Family properties:

  • Tenant certifications due March 31, April 30 and May 31 for Multi-Family properties have been extended to June 30 with no late fees or overage charges, as allowed in Multi-Family guidance (HB-3- 3560, Chapter 4, Section 4.11). This extension will allow for additional time to complete needed certifications while avoiding face-to-face meetings as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Late fees on Section 515 mortgages will be waived, subject to waiver authority in 7 CFR 3560.403 (c)(3).
  • Section 515 Annual Financial Statements due March 31 will be extended 30 days, as per Multi-Family guidance (HB-2-3560 Chapter 4, Section 4.16-H). USDA is exploring whether a longer extension is appropriate and will provide further guidance.
  • Current policy states that owners must process an interim recertification at the tenant’s request if there is a change in income of $50 or more per month. The owner should already have this policy in writing and apply it consistently. To the maximum extent possible, we encourage all owners to work with all tenants with impacted income to adjust rent payments.
  • USDA encourages all owners to work with impacted residents and families to adjust rent payments, enter into forbearance agreements, and lessen the impact on affected residents. At this time, no additional subsidy funding has been made available. If borrowers are temporarily unable to make loan payments, the Agency may waive late fees and enter into an official workout plan. 

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