Skylar Giordano cuts Ryan Huerta’s hair at RD’s Barber Shop in Kenai on July 9, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Skylar Giordano cuts Ryan Huerta’s hair at RD’s Barber Shop in Kenai on July 9, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Relief available for local businesses, nonprofits

A number of state and local grant programs have been launched.

In an ongoing effort to provide economic relief for the local businesses and nonprofits on the Kenai Peninsula, a number of state and local grant programs have been launched to put money in the hands of those who are struggling to keep their doors open due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a look at what programs have been launched so far, and which ones are still available for those seeking help.

For assistance in applying for any of these grants, contact the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District at 907-283-3335.

City of Kenai

The City of Kenai was the first municipality in the Kenai Peninsula Borough to launch their grant programs for small businesses and nonprofits, and the city is well on its way to sending out another round of grants after a fruitful first round.

City Manager Paul Ostrander said on Tuesday that between the two application periods the city had for these grants in June and July they accepted 180 grants from local businesses and nonprofits and distributed over $2.2 million in relief. Ostrander said that there is still about $785,000 designated for these grants that has yet to be claimed or distributed. This amount will likely be used to fund a second round of small business grants later in the fall, Ostrander said, because he expects businesses to take another financial hit now that many people have lost the extra $600 a week in federal unemployment insurance that they had been receiving since March.

The city’s working group for COVID-19 response, which includes Ostrander and others, is already looking at what other forms of assistance they can provide. Ostrander said that next week the city will launch a grant program that businesses can use specifically for marketing purposes, and they also launched a grant program specifically for commercial fishers.

City of Soldotna

The City of Soldotna’s Grant application period closed July 31, and the grants are expected to be sent out later this month. The amounts that will be awarded depend on last year’s revenue, with a maximum of $15,000 for small businesses and $25,000 for nonprofits.

If you are a business owner within the City of Soldotna that applied for a grant, check your status by emailing CARES@soldotna.org.

City of Seward

Business owners and nonprofit directors in Seward have until Aug. 17 to complete an application for relief from the city. Applications can be found at www.aksbdc.org/covid19.

City of Homer

Applications are still open for the City of Homer’s small business relief program, which is distributing grants in increments of $3,000 each. Applications can be found online at cityofhomer-ak-sberg.online.

Kenai Peninsula Borough

The Kenai Peninsula Borough approved $15 million in relief for small businesses and nonprofits that don’t fall within the boundaries of one of the incorporated cities on the peninsula, and they are now in the process of reviewing the over 600 applications they received for small business relief through the second half of July. The application window is now closed, and applicants should expect to receive funds some time in the middle of August.

Alaska CARES

State grants are available for small business owners even if they have already received financial relief through one of the local municipalities. Recently Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development expanded the eligibility criteria to include commercial fishers, 501(c)(6) nonprofits and businesses that received less than $5,000 in federal assistance.

In addition, applications for state relief are currently being facilitated through one website for the sake of simplicity. Alaska business owners can go to akcaresonline.org to begin the application process.

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