URA April Board Meeting Recap: COVID-19 Funding Update
PITTSBURGH, PA (April 16, 2020) – The URA Board of Directors held its April 2020 Regular Board Meeting at 2 p.m. today via call-in webinar due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An update was given on URA COVID-19 efforts
(as of April 15):
- Since March 18 when the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund (ELF) was created, the URA has received 281 applications (211 from MWBE businesses) totaling $3.77 million in demand. It has approved $1.6 million in loans to 68 businesses (54 MWBE) and the rest are in process.
- In the last 30 days, the COVID-19 Housing Stabilization Program has helped 52 households with rent and utilities, a total of $156,000 in assistance. Approximately another 200+ applications are being processed through the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh.
- The URA partnered with Circles Greater Pittsburgh and Paramount Pursuits to create Gallery on Penn Gone Virtual, an online retail page for the Gallery on Penn businesses.
- The URA worked with business district groups on the PGH.Shops.Local campaign, which encourages people to support local businesses by purchasing gift cards and ordering takeout. Business district groups interested in participating can contact Dylan Knapp-Scott at email@example.com.
- The URA is partnering with Neighborhood Allies to release an RFQ for e-commerce consultants to develop a short webinar on the basics of e-commerce for small businesses as well as up to five hours of individual technical assistance. The goal is to enable micro-entrepreneurs to sustain their businesses by selling their products online.
In addition, the Board approved a $200,000 grant from Citizens Bank and a $250,000 grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation for COVID-19 ELF. It also authorized $100,000 from the Strip District Loan Fund to be used for Strip District businesses through the COVID-19 ELF.
The Board voted to advance three affordable housing projects in the Garfield, Squirrel Hill and Lawrenceville neighborhoods. Read more.
The Board also announced that the URA Organizational Strategy Report compiled by HR&A Advisors is now available on the URA’s website here. The page features a section for public feedback.
“I want to thank HR&A Advisors for the incredible work that they did to prepare this for us, and also acknowledge that there are a handful of foundations that actually made this possible – the Pittsburgh Foundation, RK Mellon (Foundation) and the Hillman Foundation,” said URA Board Chair Sam Williamson. “And also thank both the staff and the incredible amount of external stakeholders that provided input necessary to be able to give us some of this important feedback.”