Updates from the URA during this time
The URA will continue to meet the needs of City of Pittsburgh residents and businesses during the outbreak of COVID-19. We are following proper precautions for our employees and the public. We realize this pandemic will deeply challenge the lives of our clients, communities and economy, and will do everything we can to help our neighbors.
Message from Greg Flisram, Executive Director of the URA
Out of concern for the health and wellness of our employees in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in support of effective social distancing measures as advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Mayor Peduto’s Executive Order, the URA will be implementing virtual work procedures beginning Monday, March 16, through Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
Although the 412 Blvd. of the Allies office building is closed to the public and our employees will be working remotely, I want to be clear that essential URA functions will remain fully operational. We have established a work-from-home protocol for all divisions to ensure the needs of URA borrowers and partners are met. URA staff will be online, phone calls received will be forwarded, and meetings will be conducted remotely as necessary.
The URA is committed to continue assisting Pittsburgh residents and businesses during COVID-19. Below are some of the ways we have been helping our neighbors to-date.
Small Business Emergency Loan Fund (ELF)
Stay in touch with the URA
Until further notice, and in best interest of public health, the URA will be offering its consumer programs and services virtually.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the URA has extended the closure of its physical offices to the public through April 30. URA employees are currently working remotely. The agency remains fully operational, but we ask for your understanding if response times are slower than normal.
Staff will be online, phone calls will be forwarded, and meetings will be conducted remotely as necessary.
Please check back for updates.
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Resources for Businesses
URA Small Business Emergency Financing Resource
The URA and Honeycomb Credit partnered to create the Pittsburgh Loyalty Bonds program, a new way for local businesses to smooth out cash flow and engage your customers.
Loyalty Bonds allow you to sell gift cards at a discount right now and gives your customer more reasons to return to your business for years to come. The first 100 Pittsburgh businesses to be accepted into this program will get $0 setup fees and $300 from the URA when you reach your goal.
Ready Pittsburgh: A Toolbox for Reopening
Ready Pittsburgh is a toolkit for organizations that contains best practice protocols and guides for various industries as the Pittsburgh region moves to the yellow phase of reopening.
COVID-19: Strategies for Commercial Property Owners & Tenants to Avoid Rent Forbearance Disputes
NAIOP Pittsburgh and the URA developed a guide for property owners and tenants to help in avoiding commercial lease disputes during COVID-19.
Financial and Technical Assistance
COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Loan Fund (ELF)
The URA is temporarily easing and streamlining its Micro-Enterprise Loan Program to provide 0% interest loans to existing and new URA small business borrowers. Details of this product:
- Up to an additional $15,000
- Loan proceeds may be used for rent, payroll, and other approved fixed monthly business expenses
- 0% interest rate, no fees
- 3-year term, 6 months no payments, 2 ½-year fully amortizing after payment deferral period
- For existing small businesses (not startups) located in the City of Pittsburgh
To apply, please use the following procedures:
- Apply at: https://tinyurl.com/uracovidloan
- Provide Statement of Need from applicant
- Previous years financial statements (including cash flow statement)
Given potential high demand for this program, the URA will make every effort to underwrite and approve applications as quickly as possible.
*The URA is also halting ALL loan payments for current URA small business borrowers, including automatic loan payment withdraws from borrower's accounts, for the month of April 2020.
Get Online Grow Online (GOGO) Small Business Program
*Application period closed May 5, 2020
Learn how to market and sell your products and services online with up to 5 hours of free technical assistance while connecting with similar businesses!
The URA, in partnership with Neighborhood Allies, launched a program to aid businesses in implementing new, creative ways to reach their customers.
The ideal candidate for the GOGO Small Business Program….
- Is already an existing business
- Has less than 15 employees
- Can be categorized as a retail (including personal services) or food/beverage business
- Is located in: the City of Pittsburgh, Wilkinsburg, Sharpsburg, Millvale, Etna, Mckees Rocks, or Mt. Oliver.
All you need to do to apply is fill out a short intake form telling us a little about your business in order to qualify for up to 5 hours of free technical assistance!
COVID-19 Working Capital Assistance Program
*Not accepting applications at this time
The URA, through its affiliate Pittsburgh Economic Industrial Development Corporation (PEIDC), is administering the PA Industrial Development Authority's (PIDA) COVID-19 Working Capital Assistance Program to eligible City of Pittsburgh businesses.
This program supplies 0% loans for up to $100,000 for working capital expenditures to businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone interested in the program should view the application and guidelines here.
Additional Resources for Pittsburgh's small business community
We will continue to update this list as resources become available.
Paycheck Protection Program
*This program will resume accepting applications on Monday, April 27 at 10:30 a.m.
The Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan
The Small Business Administration is providing low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans to qualified Pennsylvanian small businesses experiencing economic injury as a result of the coronavirus. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the COVID-19 impact.
Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program
The SBA Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program provides up to $25,000 for survival and/or reopening of business during or immediately following COVID-19 crisis.
Coronavirus Financial Bridge Loan Program
Hebrew Free Loan Association of Pittsburgh has announced a Coronavirus Financial Bridge Loan Program to provide interest-free loans on a nonsectarian basis for up to $5,000 to residents of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Westmoreland, Washington, and Armstrong counties who are facing financial challenges caused by the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.
Honeycomb Relief Loan program
Honeycomb Credit is offering the Honeycomb Relief Loan program to small businesses affected by the coronavirus. These loans up to $50,000 will offer a 45-day payment free period and a six-month interest-only period. Honeycomb is also streamlining its diligence process, accelerating the speed that it launches campaigns onto its platform, and reducing fees across the board.
The Kiva Pittsburgh program at Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI) helps business owners to apply for and crowdfund 0% interest loans with Kiva.org. During the COVID-19 outbreak, loans can be as much as $15,000 with a 6-month grace period. Find links to more information, local assistance with your application, and the online application on the RCI website.
Emergency Action Fund
The Pittsburgh Foundation is providing funding to nonprofit organizations facing immediate and long-term impacts of COVID-19 through the Emergency Action Fund. You can find the grant criteria and application, opening April 1, 2020, here.
Save Small Business Fund
The Save Small Business Fund is a grantmaking initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States and its territories. Apply here.
Facebook Small Business Grants Program
Facebook has a Small Business Grants Program that offers $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during the outbreak of COVID-19.
Guides and Resources Lists
- The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and
Economic Security Act), signed into law March 27, 2020, allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. Stifel Public Finance compiled this helpful summary.
- The American Industrial Hygiene Association developed science-backed guidelines for both businesses and consumers to safely re-open.
- Commonwealth of Pennsylvania response guide
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Resources
- National Endowment for the Arts: COVID-19 Resources for Artists and Arts Organizations
- The PA Department of Community and Economic Development has a list of contacts and resources that are available to assist affected businesses.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration Guide provides help to plan and respond to COVID-19.
- The Allegheny Conference and its affiliate organizations created the Pittsburgh Region Response to COVID-19 webpage, full of information and resources available across local government, corporate, philanthropic, university and non-profit communities.
- Bridgeway Capital developed a COVID-19 Relief and Resources page for access to its financing solutions and resources. Bridgeway’s Entrepreneurship Hub is also offering free technical assistance.
- The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University is offering services, including counseling sessions and technical assistance, by telephone.
- Google is offering guidance for small businesses, including how to communicate with your customers and employees, how to effectively work from home, and how to modify advertising, among other topics.
- Postmates offers information for using its platform to sell takeout, which may increase your customer reach and boost your digital presence.
- Yelp is offering $25 million in relief primarily to independent, local restaurant and nightlife businesses, in the form of waived advertising fees and free advertising, products, and services.
- Thursday, May 21 - 9 AM EST - URA Housing and Business COVID Response Update
Description: Join URA Officials as they outline the ongoing and upcoming initiatives at the URA that will support Pittsburgh residents and business owners during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic. Watch live on the City of Pittsburgh's YouTube Channel. If you would like to make public comment, please email HOF@URA.ORG with your name and phone number - you will be given a phone number to call in and give your comments. The deadline to sign up for public comment is at 12 PM EST, Wednesday, May 20.
Bridgeway Capital's Entrepreneurship Hub Webinars are tailored to help small businesses navigate economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resources for Residents
Housing Stabilization Program
The Housing Stabilization Program (HSP) is a housing crisis intervention program that provides one-time or short term (up to 3 months) financial assistance to households who are facing a temporary, non-reoccurring housing crisis. A limited amount of funding is also available for homeowners to assist with mortgage payments.
City of Pittsburgh residents in need of rental, utility or mortgage assistance should contact United Way 2-1-1. Interpreter services are available in over 140 languages.
United Way can be contacted through one of the following:
- Text your ZIP Code to 898-211
- Dial 211 from your phone
- Call toll free at 1-866-856-2773
- By chatroom: http://pa211sw.org/
- The United Way operates a free helpline called 2-1-1 for housing and other emergencies. Dial 2-1-1, text your zip code to 898-211, or visit pa211sw.org for assistance.
The PA Housing Alliance is keeping an updated list of housing resources that includes mortgage loss mitigation and financial bridge loans, among other information.
- Comcast is adjusting its Internet Essentials Program to meet the needs of low-income residents while dealing with the crisis.
- Duquesne Light is waiving customers' late fees until at least May 1.
- Port Authority is offering reimbursement for riders with passes who must stay at home due to COVID-19. Riders can call the authority at 412-442-2000, visit the website at portauthority.org.
- The City of Pittsburgh’s Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) is offering its free, one-on-one, professional financial counseling virutally. The FEC helps clients take control of their debt, deal with debt collectors, improve their credit, create a budget, save, connect to safe and affordable financial products, and much more.
- Map of Free Food Distribution Sites in Allegheny County
- Humane Animal Rescue Pet Helpline & Resources
- Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh COVID-19 Response & Resources
- Resolve Crisis Network 24-Hour Help 1-888-7-YOU-CAN (796-8226)
- Peer Support and Advisory Network (PSAN)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Distress Hotline 1-800-985-5990
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
How You Can Help
Support Small Businesses
Shop & Order from Your Local Businesses
Help support your favorite local food and drink businesses and retailers by ordering takeout, buying giftcards, and/or shopping online.
Gallery on Penn Gone Virtual
The Gallery on Penn retail space in East Liberty has gone virtual. Shop your favorite Gallery on Penn businesses from the comfort of your home.
More Ways to Support Businesses and Workers
- Help support service industry workers through the Pittsburgh Virtual Tip Jar. This online Google Sheet lists Venmo/Paypal info for your favorite service workers at bars, salons, restaurants, and other businesses that have been ordered to close so that you can send them a tip while staying at home.
- Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and Strip District Neighbors partnered on the Gift Card Give Back Initiative, a way for you to support local shops, restaurants, and retailers you love through the purchase of gift cards. For a limited time, for every gift card you purchase through this site, an extra 25% bonus will be added, with revenue going right to your favorite businesses.
- Pittsburgh Magazine created the #PGHEatsToGo guide listing restaurant options during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Honeycomb Credit compiled several ways to support local businesses and entrepreneurs, while keeping yourself safe and healthy during the coronavirus.
Support the Arts Community
- You can donate to the Emergency Fund for Artists fundraiser which is raising money for local performers and artists who have lost income due to the cancellation of tours, gigs, and jobs in the nightlife and events industry.
May 26, 2020 - URA: URA and Honeycomb Credit Partner to Create Pittsburgh Loyalty Bonds Program
May 14, 2020 - URA: City Launches Online Housing Assistance Resource Portal (HARP) for Housing Needs
May 12, 2020 - URA: The URA Announces Virtual May 2020 Regular Board Meeting
May 11, 2020 - NAIOP Pittsburgh: NAIOP Pittsburgh and URA Release Guide for Commercial Property Owners and Tenants to Avoid Legal Disputes
April 28, 2020 - City of Pittsburgh: Mayor William Peduto Announces COVID-19 Funding for Residents and Small Businesses
April 20, 2020 - URA: URA’s Housing Stabilization Program is Available to Assist with Financial Hardships
April 16, 2020 - City of Pittsbugh: Mayor William Peduto Addresses Pittsburgh on COVID-19 Pandemic
April 16, 2020 - URA: URA April Board Meeting Recap: COVID-19 Funding Update
April 14, 2020 - URA: The URA Announces Virtual April 2020 Regular Board Meeting
April 7, 2020 - URA: Citizens Bank Donates $200,000 to URA’s Small Business Emergency Loan Fund
April 6, 2020 - Citizens: Citizens to Fund Nearly $1.5 Million for Pennsylvania Community and Small Business Support.
April 2, 2020 - URA: URA, Circles Greater Pittsburgh and Paramount Pursuits Partner to Create Gallery on Penn – Gone Virtual
April 2, 2020 - URA: URA Announces Neighborhood Initiatives Fund Program Round 2; Application Process Now Open
April 1, 2020 - City of Pittsburgh: City Revamps COVID-19 Website
March 30, 2020 - City of Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Center is Open for Free One-on-One Financial Counseling by Phone or Video
March 20, 2020 - U.S. Department of Labor: U.S. Department of the Treasury, IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor Announce Plan to Implement Coronavirus-related Paid Leave for Workers and Tax Credits for Small and Midsize Businesses to Swiftly Recover the Cost of Providing Coronavirus-Related Leave
March 19, 2020 - City of Pittsburgh: URA Partners with City and Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh to Provide Short Term Rent/Mortgage/Utility Financial Assistance to City Residents
March 18, 2020 - Governor Tom Wolf: Governor Wolf Requests Disaster Declaration for Small Businesses and Non-Profits to Obtain Loans
March 18, 2020 - City of Pittsburgh: City of Pittsburgh Moves to Level 2 Emergency Operations in Response to COVID-19
March 17, 2020 - URA: The URA Announces Virtual March 2020 Annual/Regular Board Meeting
March 16, 2020 - Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Wolf Administration Updates Businesses on Guidance for COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts
March 16, 2020 - City of Pittsburgh: City of Pittsburgh Announces Operational Changes Due to COVID-19
March 13, 2020 - URA: URA Offering Resources to Help Small Businesses Potentially Impacted by Coronavirus
In compliance with City of Pittsburgh protocals prohibiting public gatherings of 50 or more people, the following URA-hosted events have been cancelled:
- Let's Talk Business: Northside Edition - March 11
- EMPOW(HER) Women’s History Month Networking Event - March 27
- Building CapaCITY: A Real Estate Networking Event - April 7
- Centre Avenue Round 2 Site Tour - May 4
Housing Opportunity Fund Advisory Board Meeting - May 7
The following URA-hosted event has been rescheduled:
- April Regular Board Meeting - Virtual - April 16
We understand the many challenges our neighbors are facing right now and are committed to meeting the needs of residents and businesses. Have a question or concern related to COVID-19?
We're here to help.
Have questions? Contact us at 412.255.6600 or COVID19Info@ura.org.