Right at this moment, the US is experiencing what can only be described as a national disaster. Small Business owners across the nation have been particularly badly affected by the coronavirus crisis and many are struggling to keep their doors open. 

These may feel like unprecedented circumstances, but we have faced disasters before, and while it won’t be easy, we will get through this. In the meantime, we recommend businesses make the most of the relief programs that have been put in place to help small businesses during this time. 

In this article, we will explore disaster assistance options and how they can be used to help your business.  We’ve also put together a list of disaster relief business tools with over 60 suggested tools and offers that can help you save time and money during this crisis. 

What are Disaster Assistance Programs?

There are a number of disaster relief assistance options available in the US through Federal, private or corporate programs. 

These programs exist to support Americans who are victims of federally-declared disasters and aim to cover losses that are not covered by insurance.  

Keep in mind that disaster assistance isn’t intended to restore your business or property to the same state it was in prior to the disaster. Instead, it provides support that will give you the advantage you need to get back on your feet. 

What Disaster Assistance Programs are Available to Small Businesses? 

We know small businesses need all the support they can get at the moment. That’s why we’ve put together a list of programs that are available across the country. In this section we’ll cover the following options: 

  • FEMA Disaster Assistance 
  • SBA Loans
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
  • State-Specific Disaster Assistance
  • Corporate-Funded Disaster Assistance
  • Amazon Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund
  • Facebook Small Business Grants
  • Federal Income Tax Deadline Extension 

FEMA Disaster Assistance 

FEMA stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA includes a number of programs that provide families, communities, and businesses with assistance in the case of natural disasters such as flooding, hurricanes or tornadoes. It’s actually really easy to find out if you qualify for assistance through the FEMA website. You can simply enter your postcode and find out immediately if you are eligible. 

At this moment in time, FEMA is not providing support for individuals and families that are affected by COVID-19. However, they have partnered with the Small Business Administration to provide loans to small businesses affected by the disaster. 

If you are a small business owner that has been affected by the Coronavirus crisis, you can contact the Small Business Administration at 1-800-659-2955 or visit the COVID-19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources website.

SBA Loans

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) provides assistance to businesses owners during natural disasters. At this moment the SBA is doing everything it can to support businesses affected by the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. 

This includes expanding the criteria of its ‘Economic Injury Disaster Loan’ to include businesses that have suffered due to the pandemic.  

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan was originally designed to provide relief to small businesses following a natural disaster such as a tornado or a flood. This loan helped to cover some of the physical damage and support the business while they were repairing their storefront. 

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses can now receive up to $2 million which they can then use to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

Because so many people are applying for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan at the moment, the SBA is offering small business owners across the country the chance to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. If you apply for this program and are successful, the funds will be made available within three days. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. 

SBA Paycheck Protection Program

If your business has been affected by COVID-19, The SBA Paycheck Protection Program could give you access to up to 2.5X your monthly payroll. This loan was designed to give small business owners an incentive to keep their workforce employed during the epidemic. If you do use the funds to cover payroll, your loan could be 100% forgivable. Through our partnership with Radius Bank, NorthOne is able to help get our customers’ early access to a waitlist for a SBA PPP loan application. You don’t have to be an existing NorthOne customer to access our SBA PPP waitlist. 

State-Specific Disaster Assistance


San Francisco COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund

The COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund was created to support small businesses in San Francisco that are struggling to pay their staff and rent. This fund gives independent businesses the opportunity to access up to $10,000 to go towards rent and the salaries of their employees. 

To be eligible for the COVID-19 Small Businesses Resiliency Fund, small businesses must:

  • Have at least 1 employee and no more than 5 employees
  • Demonstrate a loss of revenue of 25% or more
  • Have less than $2,500,000 in gross receipts
  • Be engaged in activities that are regulated by the City and County of San Francisco and have a license/permit associated to that regulation.

If you are a small business operating in the city of San Francisco this is your chance to access much needed financial support. Visit the San Francisco COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund page to apply. 

City of Los Angeles Small Business Emergency Microloan Program 

Los Angeles has responded to the impact of COVID-19 with the City of Los Angeles Small Business Emergency Microloan Program. This program will loan small businesses between $5,000 and $20,000. These loans will have an interest rate of 0% for 6 months to a year or 3-5% for up to 5 years. 

To be eligible for the City of Los Angeles Small Business Emergency Microloan Program small businesses must: 

  • Be operating in the city of LA
  • Be low income or will retain low income jobs
  • Have a responsible credit history 
  • Have sufficient cash flow history 
  • Prove the business has been hindered by the COVID-19 outbreak
  • Include a breakdown of what the loan will be used for
  • Have a co-signer 
  • Have a guarantee from all business owners who hold 20% or more ownership

If you have a small business in the city of Los Angeles that could do with some extra cash flow to keep things running this could be a good opportunity. Go to the City of Los Angeles Small Business Emergency Microloan Program page to apply. 


Denver Small Business Emergency Relief

The city of Denver has announced a $4 Million relief fund for small businesses in the industries that have been most affected by the Coronavirus crisis. This includes: 

  • Restaurants
  • Retail 
  • Barbershops and hair salons
  • Nail salons

The fund will offer grants of up to $7,500 or micro loans to help businesses cover the financial damage caused by the Coronavirus crisis. If you are a small business owner operating in Denver you can apply for a grant or loan by filling out this form or by visiting the Denver Small Business Emergency Relief page. 


Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program has been set up for small businesses with 2-100 employees experiencing economic hardship caused by COVID-19. It offers businesses short-term, interest free loans of up to $50,000 and $100,000 in special cases. 

This loan program is a short-term solution. It was designed to bridge the gap for small businesses between dealing with this crisis and when they are able to secure long-term recovery resources. This is why it is only interest free for the first year. After the first year businesses will need to pay 12% interest. 

If your business has already accessed a bridge loan, you will need to pay this off before receiving a new one. To find out how you can apply for this loan, visit this official web page. 


Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund

The City of Chicago has established a $100 Million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund. This will provide small businesses and non-profits with emergency cash flow during the coronavirus crisis. 

These emergency funds will take the form of loans of up to $50,000 with repayment terms of up to 5 years. 

At least 50% of the loan should go to payroll. Businesses will also need to make a commitment to retain their workforce at a minimum of 50% of what it was before the COVID-19 outbreak. 

To be eligible for this loan, businesses must:

  • Prove a 25% drop in revenue
  • Prove they were making less than $3 million in revenue before the outbreak
  • Have less than 50 employees
  • Have no current tax liens or legal concerns

Visit the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund information page to find out more and apply for this loan. 


Michigan Small Business Relief Program

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program has a number of funding options for small businesses including grants of up to $10,000, and loans from $50,000 to $200,000 with interest rates of 0.25%. 

To be eligible for this program, businesses must:

  • Have 100 or fewer employees
  • Must prove income loss related to COVID-19 outbreak

This relief program covers all 83 counties in the state. To find out what options are available in your county go to the Michigan Business resource page for small business assistance.

New York

New York City Employee Retention Grant Program

NYC is offering small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help stem unemployment rates in the city. 

To be eligible for this grant, businesses must: 

  • Have experienced 25% loss of revenue due to the Coronavirus crisis
  • Be located in one of NYC’s five boroughs
  • Be operating for 6 or more months
  • No current tax liens or legal judgments

You can apply for the New York City Employee Retention Grant Program by visiting this page. 

NYC Small Business Continuity Loan Fund

The other funding option for small businesses is the NYC Small Business Continuity Loan Fund. If your business has fewer than 100 employees and has seen a 25% decrease in profits you might be able to receive a 0% interest loan of up to $75,000. 

To be eligible for this grant, businesses must: 

  • Be located within the five boroughs of New York City
  • Demonstrate that the COVID-19 outbreak caused at least a 25% decrease in revenue
  • Employ 99 employees or fewer
  • Demonstrate ability to repay the loan
  • Have no outstanding tax liens or legal judgments

Visit this page to learn more about NYC Small Business Continuity Loan Fund and apply. 


Hillsboro Small Business Emergency Relief Program

Hillsboro has set up small business emergency grants to help keep doors open for businesses across the city. The first round of funding closed the first day it opened due to overwhelming demand. 

The good news is the city has committed another $500,000 to the grant. 

Small businesses in the City of Hillsboro can apply to receive up to $3,000 in emergency grant funding during a second round of applications on Tuesday, April 7, between 9 am and 4 pm. 

Priority for this grant will be given to businesses that operate in the most affected industries including: 

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Education
  • Facilities
  • Businesses that serve large groups of people 

The grant application will be available on this webpage.

Jade District-Old Town COVID-19 Small Business Response Fund

Businesses in Jade District and Old Town Chinatown in Portland have been experiencing downturn in business since January. This grant was set up to help these businesses get back on their feet. 

The first round of applications for this grant closed on the 26th of March, however new opportunities to apply will be available again in the near future. 

If you are a business owner in Jade District or Old Town Chinatown, we recommend going to the Jade District-Old Town COVID-19 Small Business Response Fund page and signing up for updates. 

Corporate-Funded Disaster Assistance

It’s not just governments that are providing disaster relief for small businesses. Some of the world’s biggest Corporations have launched Corporate-Funded Disaster Assistance to help small businesses through this difficult time. 

Amazon Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund

Amazon has set up a $5 million grant fund to help businesses in the same neighborhoods as their buildings in Washington and Seattle. 

These are grants, not loans, which means businesses that receive this funding will not have to pay it back. The money is intended to be used to cover day-to-day expenses that businesses are struggling to come up with during this difficult time. 

To be eligible for this grant businesses must: 

  • Be operating in Bellevue, Washington or Regarde Neighborhoods of Seattle 
  • Have less than 50 employees
  • Make less than $7 million in annual revenue

This grant will prioritize businesses that rely on foot traffic and have been most negatively impacted by the crisis, including: 

  • Coffee shops
  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops 
  • Food trucks
  • Bars 
  • Salons/barbers
  • Car washes

Visit the Amazon Neighborhood Relief Fund page to find out more and apply for the grant. 

Facebook Small Business Grants

Facebook is contributing to the small business relief efforts with Small Business Grants. This will offer $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses. 

These grants are intended to: 

  • Support employees
  • Help with rent costs
  • Advertise to new and existing customers
  • Cover day-to-day operational costs 

Facebook will be accepting applications for these grants in the coming weeks. You can sign up for updates on the Business Grants information page

Other Federal Disaster Assistance to Know

Federal Income Tax Deadline Extension 

The federal government recognizes that small businesses across the country are struggling. That’s why they have extended the Federal Income Tax Deadline to July 15 2020. If you’d like to know more about what is happening with taxes in your state during this crisis you can find out by checking out your state agency website.

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