(LaPorte, IN) - $250,000 in grants will be going to help small businesses in LaPorte County impacted by COVID-19 stay afloat. The money is from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs which has awarded $10.7 million in federal dollars since the relief effort at the direction of the governor was started April 1.
According to OCRA officials, LaPorte County on April 30 was awarded the maximum grant under the program which funds anything from increased access to testing and medical supplies to providing relief to small business owners and their workers. The town of Hebron on April 22 was awarded $152,000 to provide short term working capital for small businesses, according to OCRA officials.
The town of LaCrosse will receive $10,000 to install four Wi-Fi hotspots for residents to access the internet to complete e-Learning activities, file unemployment claims, and submit job applications, OCRA officials said. Tony Rodriguez, executive director for the LaPorte County Office of Economic and Community Development, said grants of up to $10,000 will be issued to at least 25 small businesses strictly in unincorporated areas of the county.
“This is about trying to save and be the lifeline to some of these small businesses that are really struggling,” he said. According to Rodriguez businesses employing anywhere from 499 to less than five people can apply by clicking LaPorte County Action Fund Application at laportecounty.in.gov.
Applications must be filled out and submitted online by 4 p.m. on June 12. Rodriguez said OCRA will decide who receives the grants based on the recommendation of the LaPorte County Redevelopment Commission and checks should be received by recipients before the end of June.
State Representative Jim Pressel of Rolling Prairie said the grants could especially help small businesses turned down for other government assistance programs tied to the virus.
“With my constituents that have reached out to me this is a big deal for them because they have not qualified for some of these other things,” he said.
According to OCRA, more COVID-19 grants under the same program will be issued to other communities in the coming weeks