The city of Fort Wayne has unveiled a Small Business Emergency Relief Program to provide assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The city’s Office of Housing & Neighborhood Services will provide a total of $300,000, which will be administered by Fort Wayne-based community organization Brightpoint.
Businesses within the city with fewer than 30 full-time employees will be able to apply for a zero-interest loan of up to $20,000. The funding can be used for expenses such as rent, utilities, changes to the physical business due to the pandemic, and licenses and application fees.
The program will begin August 10 with a two-week application period. The city says assistance will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis and the first year’s payments will be forgivable.
The city says small businesses make up the majority of all businesses in the area, with nearly 7,500 employing fewer than 20 people.
“Small businesses are a crucial piece of keeping our local economy healthy, and yet many of them are struggling to survive the economic hardships created by the pandemic,” said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. “Our priority is to support our local businesses so they, and our economy, come out on the other side of this crisis stronger than ever.”
The funding comes from $1.7 million in CARES Act funding from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.