Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg rolls out more funding for local businesses

Screenshot from the virtual City Council legislative session.

Struggling Harrisburg businesses received good news on Tuesday.

A second round of the “Neighborhood Business Stabilization Grant” that directs funds to businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic is coming, Mayor Eric Papenfuse announced at a City Council legislative session.

“It’s intended to provide emergency operating funds to businesses that are closed or have their foot traffic significantly decreased,” he said.

Businesses can apply for up to $10,000 for expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, payroll, real estate tax and vendor invoices. Businesses that received money from the first grant are not excluded from the second round, Papenfuse said.

The grant comes through a partnership with the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC. The $500,000 in grant money is sourced from federal CARES Act funding.

Papenfuse said this round of the grant funding is different from the first, this being more “forward-looking.” For example, he said that these funds could be used for paying rent in the coming months. The previous grant was focused on immediate needs, he said.

“This is a grant to help businesses make it through to spring and summer when we expect to hopefully have a vaccine and hopefully have a much safer business climate,” Papenfuse said.

The application for the grant program will be available Dec. 1 on the Harrisburg Regional Chamber’s website.

Papenfuse also announced a proposed program that will be discussed as part of the 2021 general budget.

The “Microenterprise Grant Program,” if passed in the budget, would provide up to $20,000 in grant funds to start-up businesses with five employees or fewer. In addition to the financial help, the grant would provide technical support as well.

The source of $200,000 in funds would be Harrisburg’s portion of hotel tax revenue. The city’s economic development team will head this program.

“This is for businesses that were going to start up, but decided not to start during the pandemic,” Papenfuse said. “It’s a potential help for businesses in the early stages of their development.”

If approved by City Council in the budget, businesses can begin to apply early in 2021, he said.

To watch past Harrisburg City Council meetings, visit the city’s YouTube channel.

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