Arkansas will tap Community Development Block Grant funds and the state’s Quick Action Closing Fund to support small businesses and nonprofits that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced during a press conference at the Capitol.
The Governor has made a formal request for a disaster declaration for small businesses, which will open up loans of up to $2 million in working capital.
“Arkansas and the nation are enduring a jolt to the economy and a huge loss of revenue,” Governor Hutchinson said. “The state cannot cover every loss of business, but we can help with bridge loans to assist companies, nonprofits, and child-care-voucher providers weather this slowdown and retain workers during this national emergency.”
The state will allocate $12 million in block grant money and up to $4 million from the quick-action fund to provide bridge loans to help midsize companies and nonprofits remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor also announced that the state will increase reimbursement for child-care voucher providers who care for children who receive federal child-care assistance and that remain open through March 27.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) will suspend the renewal process for child-care vouchers for 30 days. DHS will expedite the process and temporarily relax limits on capacity for providers. More than 800 child-care providers have closed.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will suspend the work requirement through the end of April. DHS also will expedite decisions about SNAP eligibility for those who lose income because of COVID-19.