Crawford County officially has launched its long-term, no-interest working capital loan program to aid small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

No-interest loans of up to $7,500 repayable over 10 years are being made available through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Coronavirus Response Program. 

Eligible businesses may use the loan toward payroll and wages, rent or mortgage payments, utilities and supplies, according to Zach Norwood, Crawford County planning director. The Crawford County Planning Office will administer the program.

The county will accept applications through July 31, with applications reviewed and awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and viability of the business.

Businesses with fewer than 100 employees may apply, but the county is looking to target smaller firms — those with 15 workers or fewer.

Businesses that were awarded and accepted financial aid as a response to COVID-19 may not be eligible for the program.

County commissioners will use more than $300,000 in CDBG funds for the loan pool.

The county will use $136,245 in 2020 CDBG coronavirus funds plus another $180,000 in previous annual CDBG funds for the loan pool.

The county can make approximately 44 loans of the maximum of $7,500 each. More loans could be made if some applications are not for the full $7,500 maximum.

For information on the Crawford County Small Business Assistance Program, as well as guidelines and an application, visit https://crawfordpa-county-small-business-assistance-crawfordcountypa.hub.arcgis.com. Information also may be accessed via the county's homepage: crawfordcountypa.net; select "Planning" from the Department Directory tab.

Contact the Crawford County Planning Office at (814) 333-7341 or via email at planning@co.crawford.pa.us.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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