The Best Resources for Financial Help Post-COVID-19
Summer is now in its third month, and instead of the post-pandemic utopia that was promised, fall is now approaching with the Delta variant on a collision course with millions of intentionally unvaccinated Americans.
That’s bad news for the masses who have been struggling all along, but who are now facing a future without stimulus checks, eviction protection, expanded unemployment benefits and other federal COVID-19-relief programs that have already run out or soon will. The good news is, both individuals and business owners have plenty of options remaining. There are still several federal programs that are offering financial aid and other assistance, as are similar programs from state governments, nonprofits and private-sector businesses.
Government Resources For Individuals and Business Owners
Many of the biggest federal assistance programs have expired, but there are still plenty of ways for both individuals and business owners to secure financial assistance and other help designed specifically for pandemic relief. The following is a list of federal resources and initiatives, but sites like Candid Learning and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce maintain long lists of state-by-state government programs.
- SBA Lender Match: This program pairs business owners in need of a loan with lenders offering funding that’s backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Just answer a brief questionnaire and you’ll receive your best matches within two days, although matches are not guaranteed.
- SBA Disaster Assistance Loans: The SBA offers low-interest loans both to businesses and homeowners who have been impacted by a declared disaster. In the case of COVID-19 related assistance, you should apply through the SBA for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). For businesses, an EIDL can provide up to $2 million with no upfront fees or early payment penalties. Your ability to repay will determine your rate, which will never exceed 4%. Loans are for up to 30 years.
- HHS Coronavirus Grants: The Department of Health and Human Services offers virus-related grants and other financial awards.
- 211: 211 is a great starting place for people and businesses looking for all kinds of pandemic-related assistance, answers and resources — not just financial aid. That includes help with things like unemployment benefits, paying for internet service and relief for gig economy workers.
- FEMA COVID-19 funeral assistance: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is providing financial support for funerals for qualifying applicants who lost a loved one to the virus.
Private and Nonprofit Resources for Business Owners
If you’re a small business owner who is having trouble staying afloat because of the lingering effects of the virus, these private-sector and nonprofit organizations offer programs that could help you see it through.
- Accion Opportunity Fund: The AO Fund was designed specifically for small businesses that are struggling to get through the pandemic. It offers free business advising and support services, educational webinars and more.
- GoFundMe Small Business Relief Fund: Qualifying businesses can apply for a $500 matching grant from the Small Business Relief fund for their business’ GoFundMe fundraiser.
- Kiva: Crowdsourced small business lending is available through Kiva for up to $15,000 at 0% interest. So far, 1.6 million lenders have extended $1 billion in 0% interest loans to 2.5 million businesses.
- Lowe’s LISC Small Business Relief Grants: In partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Lowe’s has given nearly $53 million in Small Business Relief Grants to nearly 2,700 businesses since the start of the pandemic. Nearly nine out of 10 recipients have been minority-owned businesses and two-thirds have been woman-owned businesses.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Save Small Business Initiative: The Chamber provides a huge list of updated links to pandemic-related financial assistance programs. They’re handily grouped by categories like state and sector.
Private and Nonprofit Resources For Individuals
Even if you don’t own a business, you can apply for grants and other awards that can provide financial relief.
- Brave of Heart Fund: This fund, made possible by the foundations of Cigna and New York Life, provides financial assistance through relief grants for families of healthcare workers who lost their lives to COVID-19.
- Fit Pro Relief Fund: This $500,000 fund is designed specifically for fitness professionals who were impacted by the crisis.
- RedRover Urgent Care Grants: Pet guardians who are struggling to pay for the needs of their non-human dependents can apply for these grants, which typically award about $200. RedRover also offers emergency boarding grants.
- One Fair Wage Emergency Fund: This fund provides financial relief specifically to workers in the service industry whose lives were impacted by the virus.
- The Workers Fund: This program is specifically for low-earning gig workers who lost income from the pandemic.
- First Responders Children’s Foundation Emergency Response Fund: This fund exists to help all first responders, including supporting jobs like dispatchers, who have been adversely impacted.
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Last updated: Aug. 5, 2021