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Low numbers, limited funding so far in business program

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Posted at 2:51 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 16:13:44-04

So far, the Lafayette Business Recovery Plan has resulted in only a few awards with limited dollars, The Current is reporting.

The plan was to take $1 million in federal housing money sent to Lafayette and reroute it to local businesses. When the plan was approved at the local level, it was said that funds would be available as soon as June 1.

But the first awards weren't approved until last week, The Current reports, and there were only eight of them.

When we reached out to LEDA today, they told us that as of August 13, eight BRP applications have been approved with amounts still to be determined—four with LCG/HUD funds and four with LEDA funds.

"The companies have not been notified, so we cannot share that information yet. LEDA will notify our recipients by the end of the month. We expect to recommend enough companies to the selection committee in the next two weeks to exhaust LEDA’s $200,000 contribution to the BRP," LEDA tells KATC.

"LCG has specific HUD guidelines they must follow before notifying recipients and cutting their checks. We will get advisement on what information—beyond company name and amount awarded—we are allowed to share about the recipients e.g. locations, kind of business, employee count, etc.," LEDA tells us.

Here are the details from LEDA:

  • Step 1 (Email Verification Forms/Request for Application): 944 submitted
  • Step 2 (Owner/Location Forms): 643 submitted
  • Step 3 (Financials/Documentation Forms): 307 submitted
  • Total Forms Processed By LEDA: 1,894

The Current reports that eight applicants have been approved so far for grants pulled from two different funding sources, adding that many applicants dropped off when faced with large reporting and documentation requirements that come along with grant awards from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Trouble with thorny regulations and pace jibe with early critiques voiced by housing advocates who opposed using the HUD dollars for grants to local businesses hurt by coronavirus, The Current reports.

Only four applications totalling $26,000 were approved for HUD funding so far, The Current reports. The total pool from HUD is $852,000 in block grant funds aimed directly at the pandemic. LCG’s Community Development Department, understaffed and inexperienced with directly overseeing HUD business grants, has struggled to move applicants through. Staffers and Director Hollis Conway tell The Current most applications are lingering incomplete. A key problem is the HUD funds are reimbursements, not upfront awards, and they must cover historical expenses, The Current reports.

To read The Current story, click here.