Youngstown, Mahoning County Providing More Virus Relief for Businesses

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Mahoning County Board of Commissioners added $500,000 to its coronavirus business assistance fund Thursday, and the city of Youngstown is preparing to launch a fund of its own. 

Funding for the grant programs is coming from the city’s and county’s allocations from the federal coronavirus relief package approved in the spring. Both programs are being administered by Valley Economic Development Partners, formerly known as Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp. 

The Mahoning County program provides grants of up to $10,000 to help businesses cover rent or mortgage payments, utilities or personal protective equipment. The approval of additional county funds makes the total available to businesses $3.25 million, said Audrey Tillis, director of Mahoning County’s office of management and budget. 

“This is one of our projects that has been very successful,” she said, noting a wide range of businesses have applied for grants.

To date, the fund has distributed grants totaling more than $1.6 million to 173 businesses since the program launched this summer, said Teresa Miller, executive director Valley Economic Development Partners. Businesses that have up to $2 million in annual sales are eligible to apply. Applications are available HERE.

“It’s been very successful,” she siad. “This was a great assistance to a lot of the smaller businesses that needed it. Everyone has been very appreciative.”   

Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said she has referred several local businesses to the program for assistance. 

“Small businesses need help,” she said following the meeting, adding that there are businesses downtown that can’t stay open because of the lack of foot traffic.

Youngstown officials have set aside $200,000 in federal relief money to assist businesses, Miller said. Its Board of Control Thursday approved a $2,200 contract with Valley Partners to provide administrative services for its COVID-19 Business Stabilization Program. City Council authorized funding for the program in June. 

Youngstown’s program will operate similarly to Mahoning County’s but with a few additional requirements, such as location of the business, Miller said. The city is finalizing its application but she expected to begin disbursing funds from the program soon.  

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.