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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, on COVID-19 Impact

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. 

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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.

Updated 4/1/2020: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the URA has extended the closure of its physical offices to the public for an additional 30 days. 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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URA News

Cancelled/Rescheduled Events

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

The following URA-hosted event has been rescheduled:

  • April Regular Board Meeting - Virtual - April 16

March Board Meeting Info

The URA will hold its Regular Board Meeting on Thursday, March 19, at 2:00 p.m. However, out of concern for the health and wellness of the public, our Board Members, and our employees, this meeting will be call-in and web-based only.

The agenda and public comment form can be found here.

Public comment related to items on the agenda will be accepted through Thursday, March 19 at 2:00 p.m. Any comments received by Thursday, March 19 at 2:00 will be made a part of the record and the minutes for the March 19 meeting.

Members of the public can join the meeting via this Zoom Meetinglink - https://zoom.us/j/513571146; The Meeting ID is: 513 571 146.

Members of the public can listen to the meeting by calling: 1-929-205-6099 and using the access code: 513571146#. 

View the presentation (PDF)

Resources for Businesses

URA Borrowers

"The URA recognizes the potential hardships and needs small businesses are facing and may face due to COVID-19. We want to reassure our small business borrowers that we are here to work with you. If you have a loan from the URA and need to seek relief, please contact us - we are here to help,” - Tom Link, URA’s director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The URA is taking the following steps to help mitigate the unprecedented potential ramifications of COVID-19:

  • The URA is halting ALL loan payments for URA small business borrowers, including automatic loan payment withdraws from borrower's accounts, for the month of April 2020.

  • The URA is offering to its existing small business borrowers Emergency Extended Credit to help ease potential cash flow difficulties over the next several weeks. Details:

    • Up to an additional $15,000

    • 0% interest rate, no fees

    • 3-year term, 6 months no payments, 2 ½-year full amortization 
       
    • Available to existing URA small business borrowers ONLY

    • To apply, please use the following procedures:


Non-URA Borrowers

COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Loan Program

The URA is temporarily easing and streamlining its Micro-Enterprise Loan Program to support up to 30, 0% loans for small businesses that are not currently URA borrowers. Details:

  • 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:

Given potential high demand for this program, the URA will make every effort to underwrite and approve applications as quickly as possible.   

COVID-19 Working Capital Assistance Program - this program is now closed

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.

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 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. Here's the basics and how to appy.

  • The SBA's Paycheck Protection Program is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll by providing each small business a loan up to $10 million for payroll and certain other expenses. If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable. Learn more, and check out this FAQ.

  • 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.

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration Guide provides help to plan and respond to COVID-19.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The PA Department of Community and Economic Development has a list of contacts and resources that are available to assist affected businesses.

  • 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.

  • Chatham University Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship is offering services, including counseling sessions and technical assistance, by telephone. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Facebook has a Small Business Grants Program that offers $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during the outbreak of COVID-19.

  • Postmates offers information for using its platform to sell takeout, which may increase your customer reach and boost your digital presence.

Webinars

  • Thursday, March 19 - The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is holding a free webinar on the "Employer Response to the Coronavirus." It also has a helpful business resource page.

  • Friday, March 20 - The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence is offering a webinar on coronavirus resources and relief for small businesses. Registration will be made available here.

  • Wednesday, March 25 - The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center is hosting a webinar on the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Emergency Loan: Process for applying and FAQ's.

  • Friday, March 27 - The Pennsylvania Chamber Educational Foundation is presenting a free 1½ hour webinar covering important topics to help small businesses during the response to coronavirus, such as legal ramifications and resources and financial options. 

  • Wednesday, April 1 - Honeycomb Credit is hosting a webinar to teach you everything you need to know about crowdfunding during COVID-19.

Resources for Residents

  • Beginning Monday, March 23, the URA will be offering a Housing Stabilization Program, in partnership with Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, that will assist households who are struggling with rent payments due to COVID-19-related losses in work and wages. City of Pittsburgh residents can call the Urban League at 412.227.4164. Read details of the program here.

  • 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.

How You Can Help

Support Small Businesses

  • The Gallery on Penn retail space in East Liberty has gone virtual. Shop your favorite Gallery on Penn businesses here, from the comfort of your home. 

  • 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 has posted restaurant and small business guides for the public to reference their current operations and capabilities.

  • 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.

Press Releases

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 30, 2020 - URA: 
Coronavirus Threatens Small Businesses – Here’s What the URA Is Doing About it and How You Can Help


March 28, 2020 - URA:
URA Announces Waiving All Fees for Administration of the COVID-19 Working Capital Assistance Program


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 - URA: URA Announces Additional Steps to Help Mitigate Potential Ramifications of COVID-19 to Small Business Community

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 - URA: A Message from Greg Flisram, Executive Director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority Of Pittsburgh, on COVID-19 Impact

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

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