Homer City Hall. (Homer News file photo)

Homer City Hall. (Homer News file photo)

City unveils three additional financial relief programs for struggling organizations

Child care, social services and nonprofits can now apply for funds

Organizations in Homer that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic now have access to three additional financial relief programs being offered by the city.

Homer created its first financial relief program in July — the Small Business Economic Relief Grant Program — and allocated $3 million to it out of the roughly $7.9 million in CARES Act funding that was handed down by the state. Then, the city voted in August to create an additional four grant programs: one for nonprofits, one for social services, one for child care services and one for individuals or households. All but the individual and household program went live on Tuesday and the city is now accepting applications for them.

Organizations can now submit applications to the Nonprofit Economic Relief Grant Program (NERG), the Childcare Business Economic Relief Grant Program (CBERG) and the Social Services Economic Relief Grant Program (SoSERG). Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2. Mailed applications must be postmarked by that date.

The Household Economic Relief Grant Program (HERG), is not included in this round of grant program rollouts. Program Manager Sara Perman said via email that the HERG program was not included in this group because it will require more administrative work to roll out, because of the eligibility requirements for people who apply for it.

“With the intent of getting CARES funding into the community as fast as possible, we didn’t want to hold back on the NERG, SoSERG, and CBERG programs while getting this set up,” Perman wrote. “It is our goal to have HERG up and running within the next two weeks.”

The NERG program is designed to help nonprofit organizations in Homer or providing services in Homer city limits. The council appropriated $750,000 to this program to be given out as grants. Applying nonprofits must be a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), 501(c)(6), 501(c)(19), 501(e) or 501(k) designated nonprofit entity under the Internal Revenue Service. Nonprofits must have been providing services since at least Jan. 1 to be eligible. The grants in this program can be used for things like loan payments, paying wages and benefits to employees, operating expenses like utilities, and buying personal protective equipment.

The CBERG program is designed to serve child care organizations and legally exempt providers. The city council appropriated $150,000 to this program for grants. Licensed child care providers are eligible for grants of up to $30,000. Legally exempt providers are eligible for grants of up to $5,000, and businesses/nonprofits that are providing after-school services are eligible for grants of up to $10,000. After-school care for school-aged children, toddlers and infants all qualifies for this program.

SoSERG was designed to serve organizations that provide social services such as mental health services, child and family support services that are substantially different than child care, job training, housing assistance or food/nutrition services. The city council appropriated $200,000 to the program to be given out in grants of up to $25,000. In order to be eligible for these grants, organizations must meet the same criteria that small businesses and nonprofits have to for their respective grant programs.

Both CBERG and SoSERG are considered to be programs that provide additional economic relief to businesses. That means a business or organization that already received financial relief from the city through its small business relief program can also apply for grants from CBERG or SoSERG if they meet the eligibility requirements. The organizations or businesses must be applying for aid to cover expenses that have not already been covered by the city’s small business relief program.

Interested organizations can apply for the grant programs online, through the city’s website, or by downloading and printing the applications. Printed applications need to be returned to the city finance department’s dropbox at Homer City Hall, or they can be mailed to:

City of Homer

ATTN: Sara Perman

491 East Pioneer Avenue

Homer, AK 99603

As the program manager, Perman said people can contact her with any questions about the application process, criteria or issues submitting their applications. She can be reached at sperman@ci.homer.ak.us or at 907-299-0523. Perman said that any appeals of denied applications will by handled by Homer’s city manager.

“Applications are going to be accepted on a rolling basis, but the initial turn-around for these programs is short,” Perman wrote. “… The City Council may consider extending these programs based on the number of applicants and the remaining funding, but we encourage applicants to apply right away.”

For the program applications and full eligibility requirements, go to the city’s website at cityofhomer-ak.gov/covid-relief/nonprofit-social-service-and-childcare-business-economic-relief-grant-programs.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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