New Urban Renewal program to support small businesses
By Cathy O'Connor
This week, the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority and the city of Oklahoma City are launching a new program to help Oklahoma City’s smallest businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses with five or fewer employees located within designated Urban Renewal Areas may apply for a grant at www.ocura-ok.org for up to $10,000 through the Urban Renewal Authority Small Business Grant Program.
The Oklahoma City Council approved an amendment to the Community Development Block Grant Operating Agreement with OCURA, reallocating $400,000 in CDBG program income for the establishment of a micro-enterprise grant program to assist small businesses adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funds can be used for future payroll, rent or mortgage, utilities, business equipment, inventory, training and other necessary business expenses. Businesses with a low- to moderate-income owner, minority-owned businesses and women-owned businesses are priorities for the program.
The city contracts with OCURA to assist with many community activities for the benefit of low- to moderate-income persons, including the elimination of slum and blight in Urban Renewal Areas, remediation of environmental contamination, construction of public infrastructure, creation of affordable housing, and the creation of jobs for LMI individuals.
To be eligible, businesses must have five or fewer employees, be located in a designated Urban Renewal Area and operate in a census tract where at least 51% of the residents are LMI. Assistance may also be provided to businesses not within a LMI census tract provided that the owner qualifies as a LMI person and the business is within a designated Urban Renewal Area.
The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority is the leading public redevelopment agency of Oklahoma City. It is empowered through state law with certain financial resources and legal mechanisms. Urban Renewal is charged with the revitalization of the city’s urban neighborhoods and the enhancement of its quality of life. The Authority is governed by a board of commissioners nominated by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council. Its day-to-day management is contracted to the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.
The Urban Renewal Authority Small Business Grant Program is an important new tool to help our city’s small businesses survive this crisis and become stronger and more stable.
Cathy O’Connor is president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.
See the original story at journalrecord.com.