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Harford to offer $5,000 grants from CARES Act to cover mortgages, rent for small businesses affected by coronavirus

Harford County government announced Wednesday that it will offer $5,000 grants for small businesses that might not have qualified under its two previously offered grants. Applications are currently available on the county’s website. It will begin accepting them on June 10.

The $5,000 business owner grants were created for people who run small business and do not have the minimum two employees required to qualify for the county’s $7,500 business grant or its $2,500 farm grant, county spokesperson Cindy Mumby said. Though large businesses can also apply for the new $5,000 grant, Mumby said it was designed with small businesses in mind. The applications are on a first-come-first-serve basis.

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"There are plenty of mom-and-pop businesses who do not have two employees, and we did not want to leave them out,” she said.

Mumby said the applications are released about a week before the acceptances begin to give business owners time to collect their documents and complete applications. The grants will be paid out of the county’s first half of CARES Act funding, which constitutes approximately $22 million.

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The $5,000 grant funding is somewhat restricted. It can only be used for payment of commercial mortgages, rent or leases, Mumby said. Critically, there is no minimum or maximum number of employees required for the grant.

The county’s $7,500 grant was more flexible. It could be used for payroll, leases, inventory, personal protective equipment, reopening costs and select other coronavirus-related expenses, but only for small businesses with two to 50 employees could apply.

Farmers with 10 or more acres could apply for a $2,500 Homegrown Harford Farm Relief grant.

Applications for the county’s $7,500 small business and $2,500 farm grants are also still open, Mumby said, and a handful of businesses have received approval letters for the grants as of Wednesday, with wire transfers of funds to follow this week or next. Mumby said the county is going to send out approximately 70 more acceptance letters today or tomorrow and will continue to ship out acceptance letters with regularity. The county started accepting applications for those grants May 26.

Mumby said the county expects to be sending out 150 to 200 payments a week.

“We are sending out approval letters every day now,” she said. "That is the goal, to get funds into the hands of our business community as quickly as possible.”

Of the $7,500 and $2,500 grants’ applicants, few have been rejected outright because they did not meet the requirements, Mumby said. The county has contacted businesses that submit incomplete applications to get them straightened out and begin the approval process.

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