The CARES Act appropriates $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants

CATHEDRAL CITY – Small businesses in this community could soon receive some financial aid as the City Council prepares to discuss how best to use $566,430 of Community Development Block Grant CARES Act funding to provide a Cathedral City small business grant program.

The City Council is prepared to discuss the money and provide direction on how to use it at its study session at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28. You may view the City Council meeting live at the City’s website by clicking here or on channel 17.

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law “Phase 3” of a stimulus package known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act is a $2 trillion stimulus package with significant implications to across housing and nearly all other aspects of the economy. The CARES Act appropriates $5 billion to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in additional funding for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).

As an active participant in the CBDG program, the Cathedral City was awarded $566,430 CARES Act funding to help mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to Stone James, Economic Development Director. The City Council is interested in awarding local small businesses grants to allow businesses to adapt to and comply with state directives so those business may continue operating for the duration of the pandemic.

While the effects of COVID-19 are being felt nationally, tourism-based economies are being hit the hardest, according to James’ staff report. The Coachella Valley is a tourism-based economy. Cathedral City businesses have weathered seven months of unprecedented shutdowns interspersed with brief periods of highly restricted re-openings. Just last week on Oct. 20, Governor Newsom announced that Riverside County businesses will be shut back down again.

Despite multiple countries engaging their brightest minds and most scientifically advanced companies, the timing and efficacy of a potential vaccine(s) is unknown, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When or if herd immunity will be reached is also unknown, according to the World Health Organization. Cathedral City businesses must physically adapt their operations to survive what will likely be continued closures and re-openings, Stone wrote in his staff report.

Staff anticipates receiving more than 100 CARES Act applications.

Cathedral City is expected to use a grant management platform similar to the one La Quinta is using successfully.

In anticipation of the return to the purple risk level and businesses’ immediate need for working capital to adapt to the purple restrictions, the Engineering Department began advertising this grant program as of Friday, Oct. 23, 2020.



Image Sources

  • CARES Act: Shutterstock