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$5.5M coronavirus grant to support Tucson small businesses, families and nonprofits

$5.5M coronavirus grant to support Tucson small businesses, families and nonprofits

From the May's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: Cases rise, judge rules that state can keep nursing home data from public series
Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona

With many people out of work, food banks like the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona in Tucson and others across the country are seeing heavy demand.

Tucson small businesses, workers and families and nonprofit groups soon will be able to apply for grants from the city to help them through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tucson City Council unanimously approved adding $5.5 million from the city’s federal COVID-19 aid to fund grants through the We Are One/Somos Uno Resiliency Fund, created in early April by Mayor Regina Romero in partnership with the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona.

Final details of the grant program, including eligibility and grant criteria, are still being worked out and will be announced later through the Community Foundation, which will handle the grants.

The city council is expected to review and finalize the program criteria on May 19, said Barbra Coffee, the city’s director of economic initiatives.

The approved funding will provide $2 million for small business continuity grants; $3 million for assistance to workers and families, including rent assistance and gas and food cards; and $500,000 for nonprofit continuity grants.

“The best investment we can make is in our people, which is how our community will move from relief to recovery,” Romero said in announcing the funding.

Vice Mayor Paul Cunningham said the appropriation is an example for other cities “to take an active role in restarting their economies.”

Grant availability and the application process will be announced at cfsaz.org, where people can also donate to the We Are One/Somos Uno fund and to the foundation’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund and Nonprofit Event Relief Fund.

Separately, the city has contributed $1 million to the Tucson Resiliency Direct Loan Program, which offers no-interest loans for small businesses through the nonprofit Business Development Finance Corp.

Contact senior reporter David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 573-4181. On Twitter: @dwichner. On Facebook: Facebook.com/DailyStarBiz

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