RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The City of Rio Rancho plans to support small businesses dealing with COVID-19 with almost $347,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Under the guidance of Mayor Gregg Hull, city staff developed the Small Business Assistance Program, which will use the HUD funding to aid micro-enterprise and small businesses that have suffered revenue decline due to COVID-19, and assist business owners with monthly fixed expenses, inventory and payroll in an effort to retain jobs and prevent permanent closure of businesses.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has rattled our local economy and businesses,” Hull said. “When this funding became available, I immediately honed in on the opportunity to help our local small businesses take steps forward to survive and, ultimately, thrive.”
The city will begin accepting applications Monday. Money will be awarded on an ongoing basis until funding is exhausted.
If businesses comply with all terms and conditions for one year, no repayment will be required. Rio Rancho small-business owners are encouraged to visit rrnm.gov/assistance to review the eligibility requirements and restrictions and to apply.
To be eligible, business owners must meet one of the following requirements set by the federal government:
- A microenterprise with five or fewer employees and the owner earning under 80 percent of the area median income can get up to $5,000;
- A small business with six to 10 employees, at least one employee in jeopardy of losing his or her job, a commitment to hire employee(s) back within six weeks of the end of the COVID-19 self-isolating period and at least one low- or moderate-income employee retained as a result of receiving assistance can get up to $5,000;
- A small business with 11 to 40 employees, at least one employee for every 10 employees in jeopardy of losing his or her job, a commitment to hire at least one employee for every 10 employees back within six weeks of the end of the COVID-19 self-isolating period and at least one low- to moderate-income employee retained as a result of receiving assistance can get up to $10,000.
The application process is managed by the city’s Community Development Block Grant program, an entitlement program administered through HUD. CDBG funding is designed to help low- to moderate-income residents.
The $347,000 was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was signed by President Donald Trump on March 27 to respond to the growing effects of this historic public-health crisis.