Starting Tuesday, Monroe residents and small businesses impacted by COVID-19 can begin the process to apply for local assistance.
The City of Monroe has received over $400,000 in community development funding from the CARES Act.
At the last Monroe City Council meeting, the council approved a local action plan for finance that includes a mix of rent assistance and repayable mortgages and small business loans.
Mayor Jamie Mayo said a screening process will be available on www.MonroeLa.us/coronavirus tuesday. The programs available are the Small Business Enterprise Program, a Rental Assistance Program and the Homeowners Assistance Program. An additional program will help non-profit organizations.
“There are limits to what we can do with these funds,” explained Urban Planning and Development Director Ellen Hill, noting that they are intended to help fill financial gaps related to COVID-19. .
The Small Business Program is for businesses that were unable to take advantage of the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
“We’re really looking to help those little moms and pops and those stores and small businesses that employ low-to-moderate income residents — those who have been impacted the most by COVID-19,” Hill said.
Mortgage assistance applicants must reside in the City of Monroe and live in their home. For homeowners, PUD will also provide disaster advice to help avoid foreclosure.
Rent assistance will also be available for a limited number of months per approved applicant and can also be used to pay rent arrears.
“Once the governor lifts the stay-at-home order, you might have a challenge clearing up those rent arrears,” Hill explained. “We want to be able to help tenants in our community.”
For assistance, visit the City of Monroe website or call 318-329-2256 to speak to the Community Development Department about planning and urban development.
Residents urged to complete census
Funding through the Community Development Block Grant program for eligible cities like Monroe is provided based on a block grant formula that considers population.
Additional federal government funding is also based on census data, and congressional, legislative, and municipal electoral districts are determined using this information.
On Monday, 54% of Ouachita Parish residents completed the census, compared to a statewide response rate of 52.9%.
“We’re a bit ahead, but we need everyone counted,” Hill said. “Over the next two weeks, you’ll see city workers in different locations handing out census materials that we got from the Census Bureau and reminding everyone how important it is that we take our census.”
On Monday, city officials encouraged citizens to complete the 2020 census at www.2020census.gov. The census survey takes about 10 minutes.