Anoka County is preparing a grant program to award $746,342 in federal COVID-relief funds. It should be ready to receive applications in early July. The money would be available for low and moderate income residents, businesses, and non-profit organizations.
A county survey showed a need to help businesses, provide rental relief for people behind on their rent, mental health assistance, and help food shelves meet the growing demand.
“Several weeks ago I know there was a food shelf that set up in a church parking lot, and the backflow of cars went out onto Highway 10. That’s how many cars were looking for food support for their families,” said Karen Skepper, Anoka County’s Community and Government Relations Director.
Skepper also expects an influx of requests from renters when a moratorium on evictions ends.
“We’re hearing that many families have been able to make the first couple months of payments, but now rents are slowing down on collections,” Skepper said. “So we do believe there’s going to be quite a few people that are looking at eviction if they can’t find a way to quickly come up with that back rent payment.”
Skepper says with the need for help, the money is expected to be allocated quickly. The county will be reaching out to small businesses that may not be aware that help is available.
“One of the things we plan to do is reach out to immigrant populations and minority owned businesses and the banks that serve them to make sure that our information is getting out there,” said Skepper.
Applications will be available on Anoka County’s website later in July.
A separate Minnesota program has more than $60 million in grants to distribute. Applications are being accepted for only ten days through July 2 for the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grant program. The money can be used by small businesses to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments and other similar expenses that have occurred since March as part of the regular course of business. Recipients will be chosen through a computer-generated randomized selection process.