Tuesday, the Lafayette City and Parish councils approved an introductory proposal from Mayor-President Josh Guillory to reallocate money from a HUD grant to small businesses instead of to housing assistance.
The plan, although approved by the councils, still would require approval from HUD. Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) is pledging to match that grant with another $200,000 in assistance.
Businesses that have not received any other assistance yet will be eligible. They must also be considered low to moderate income - that includes bakeries, salons, venues, and even artists. If approved by HUD, funds are expected to be available as soon as June 1.
The amount of funds given to each business, depends on the circumstances.
"There is a tentative cap, it depends on the need were looking at increments of $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, $7,500 and under certain circumstances, LEDA may be able to go over $7,500" Guillory said.
At this time, LCG is putting together a committee. They will create a website for the applications. Any business owner who may be eligible should apply through LEDA.
One major argument was that the HUD grant was intended for homelessness, which has risen by 58% since the beginning of this pandemic.
Guillory proposed using the money to help small businesses that were forced to close because of the stay at home order, instead of having it go toward housing assistance.
According to Hollis Conway, director of Community Development, LCG was able to come up with more than $200,000 of funds that was allocated to future projects. That money will be put towards rent and utility assistance. ARCH, Catholic Charities of Acadiana, and other housing advocates will receive the funds directly.
Mayor-President Guillory also gave an update at Tuesday's meeting on the search for a new police chief for the City of Lafayette.
That search was put on hold, Guillory says, because of the COVID pandemic, but the search committee will soon begin its work.
Scott Morgan has served as interim police chief since January, when former chief Toby Aguillard resigned.
A new COVID-19 testing site was announced at the meeting. Councilwoman Nanette Cook said that starting Tuesday, drive-thru testing will take place in the parking lot of the Allie & Patlola Medical Center, located at 901 Wilson St., three days a week.
The drive-thru swab tests will be offered from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 9 a.m. - noon on Fridays.
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