But COVID-19 has rendered most everything anything but normal, and that includes Achieve’s income stream. When it was closed for two months, it had no revenue coming in (medical assistance programs pay per client) and since it was able to open per state guidelines, it’s only able to service about 75 people right now.
“It’s been very challenging for us,” said Achieve CEO Tom Weaver.
Weaver said Achieve was able to receive a federal PPP loan along with some Medicaid Provider Relief grant money. He also said the firm received some state retention grants, but it only adds up to a fraction of the monthly operating costs.
Anoka County received $43 million in CARES Act relief funds, and county leaders have found ways to use the money to shore up county services and facilities to help operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We can’t give you money to cover your loss revenue,” said Anoka County Economic Development Specialist Jacquel Hajder. “What we can do is cover those expenses that you couldn’t (cover) during the time you were closed or when revenue was down.”
County commissioners set aside approximately $3 million for non-profits that have had to expand core services to support those most financially harmed in the pandemic and resulting economic shutdown and and additional $6 million for businesses and non-profits who meet certain criteria to qualify. The county originally opened the application window in August but did not receive as many applications as hoped, so last week the county board voted to extend the deadline and expanded the criteria to include more businesses. One of the new criteria is that businesses or non-profits have a maximum of 50 full-time equivalent employees. The deadline to apply is now September 18.
“All of it was an effort to get the money into the hands of businesses and non-profits in Anoka County more quickly,” said Anoka County Board of Commissioners Chair Scott Schulte.
Hajder said the county wanted to make as many as 600 grants of $10,000 apiece to those businesses that qualify.
“I call (it) a larger fish net,” she said. “A business could have 100 employees and still be eligible, then. At the same time, the board recognized there’s a lot of restaurants and industries that has a lot of part-time workers, and if you have 100 part-time workers, you are ineligible in that first round because you had more than 50 total employees.”
But Weaver said it still eliminates Achieve from contention.
“There’s not enough money to address all the needs out there,” he said. “The county has been a big supporter of Achieve and we’ve had a great relationship with them, so it’s really kind of frustrating for us and disappointed we’re not eligible for support when we need it the most.”