Businesses can get $$$ for rent, mortgages

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Covington is home to many unique small businesses, like these in the Ritte’s Corner neighborhood commercial district in Latonia.

Assistance program to protect jobs, prevent vacant storefronts 

COVINGTON, Ky. -Qualifying businesses can apply for up to $500 a month to help pay rent or mortgages under a new, temporary program the City of Covington has created to protect jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.
 
The Emergency Disaster and Rent & Mortgage Business Assistance Program is one of three executive orders signed by Covington Mayor Joe Meyer late Wednesday to help local businesses stay solvent during the global health crisis.
 
The other orders waive permit fees and extend the tax filing deadline by three months.
 
"Early last week our team began looking at ways we could help our small locally owned businesses, avert some layoffs, and help assure a quicker recovery after the 'all-clear' is eventually sounded," Covington Economic Development Director Tom West explained.
 
"By taking an existing program like our rent subsidy for new businesses and modifying the parameters to help our existing businesses, we believe we can be part of the solution," he said. "Our initiative is intended to complement other means of assistance, including possible insurance claims, SBA loans and the federal stimulus being worked out now."
 
The City has set aside $200,000 for the program from its economic development fund.
 
The assistance is limited to four months' help. It's dispersed to businesses as a reimbursement of up to half their monthly rent or mortgage payment, or $500, whichever is less, beginning with the April payment.
 
As of now, the businesses must be in either in retail trade (falling under the North American Industry Classification System 44-45) or the accommodation & food services (NAICS 72). Those two sectors - which include small retail businesses and restaurants and bars - are among the hardest hit in Covington, with workers there most heavily affected by layoffs, West said.
 
Following health experts' recommendations to limit the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus by limited face-to-face contact through "social distancing," Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered the closing of bars, restaurant dining rooms, and retail businesses.
 
Businesses that apply for rent and mortgage help from the City must be open at least 30 hours a week, unless ordered closed by legal mandate. And they must be working with the Kentucky Small Business Development Center on contingency planning and accessing federal disaster loans.
 
To apply or learn the details of the program, click HERE. And note that an application doesn't guarantee funding.
 
 
Questions should be sent to Covington Economic Development Project Manager Ross Patten via email at rpatten@covingtonky.gov.
 
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The executive orders are part of the City's ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic and are allowed under the formal State of Emergency declared by Mayor Meyer on March 19. The legal maneuver speeds the City's ability to take actions to protect the public and mitigate the pandemic's impact and allows Covington to be reimbursed by federal agencies for disaster-related expenses incurred during this time.