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Warren business loan program ending

$95,472 paid out, more applications still being processed

WARREN — A loan program established by the city to help small businesses reopen and purchase personal protective equipment is set to end Aug. 15.

Using a portion of $702,138 the city received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic (CARES) Act, Warren established a forgivable loan program. Small business owners could receive a loan up to a $5,000 in preparation of reopening or to buy the equipment necessary to make sure their employees and their customers are safe from the virus.

When initially announced, Warren Community Development Director Michael Keys said the city was considering using up to $300,000 of the CARES Act funds, depending on the need in the community.

“We’ve had 60 applications for the loan,” Keys said on Friday. “We have paid out $95,472 in loans and we’re still processing some loan applications.”

These are deferred zero-interest loans, which may be forgiven after a defined period time once the business has reopened and / or reached certain milestones as set by the city.

The CV-19 Business Support Loans funds may be used for items such as restocking perishable inventory lost during the shutdown; retrofitting for social distancing and employee protection, i.e. plexiglass shields and partitioning; and personal protective equipment for employees.

Applicants are required to meet specific criteria to qualify for the loans. Representatives of Warren Redevelopment and Planning are processing the loans.

“We had some businesses that applied for this loan that were seeking funds for rental assistance, for example,” Keys said. “But that was not one of the things we were providing funds to cover.”

The city now is developing a new loan program to continue assistance to the business community with COVID-19 related expenses, according to Mayor Doug Franklin. Details will be released once the current loan program has ended.

“It’s imperative that we continue to offer any assistance we can to our businesses and their employees,” Franklin said. “They are an extremely vital part of our community and will play a big part in our recovery from the devastation caused by this pandemic.”

Businesses interested in applying may send a request for an application via email or U.S. mail to: Anthony Iannucci, executive director of WRAP Corp., 333 Harmon Ave. NW, Warren OH 44483. They also can contact Michael D. Keys, Community Development director, 58 E. Market St. Suite 305, Warren, OH 44483 or email mkeys@warren.org.

rsmith@tribtoday.com

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