Locally, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced three different forms of economic aid that are or will be available to assist employers:
$12 million in community development block grant funding. This is money from a program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The governor stated that the first priority for these funds will be for businesses such as hospitals and other healthcare facilities, as well as other businesses engaged in areas necessary to help combat the COVID-19 public health emergency. These funds will be allocated with guidance from HUD.
$4 million for a bridge loan program. The governor stated these funds will be targeted to mid-sized companies to make payments and provide working capital to help these businesses remain viable. Companies may be eligible for up to $250,000 under this program.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The governor has declared a state of emergency for Arkansas small businesses and has sent correspondence to the Small Business Administration (SBA) requesting funds under its Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. The governor hopes to receive correspondence back from the SBA by the end of the week. If approved by the SBA, this will make low-interest loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by COVID-19. These loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills. The interest rate on these loans is 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for non-profits, and the loans offer long-term repayments, up to a maximum of 30 years.