Federal assistance available for Utility Customers
With the passage of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) on Friday, electric utility service payments are included uses for much of the federal stimulus-response for individuals and businesses.
Federal Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
A major concern in the pandemic is the effect unemployment and the economic downturn will have on at-risk utility customers, including low-income households and seniors. To help these customers, Division B of the CARES Act provides $900 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. This $900 million comes in addition to monies already appropriated for FY2020. The act also provides that the additional funds could be spent through fiscal year 2021, but estimates are that additional funds will be nowhere near enough to meet demands this fiscal year, let alone last into the next. These monies can be accessed by customers by applying here - https://dss.mo.gov/fsd/formsmanual/EA-1-Application-for-the-Low-Income-Home-Energy-Assistance-Program.pdf Completed applications should be mailed to your local Community Action Agency found here - https://dss.mo.gov/fsd/energy-assistance/pdf/liheap-contracted-agencies.pdf
Small Business Administration programs
Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Loan Advance:
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000, and this loan advance will have to be repaid. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application. To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here.
SBA Debt Relief:
The SBA Debt Relief program will provide and reprieve to small businesses as they overcome the challenges created by this health crisis.
Under this program:
· The SBA will also pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020.
· The SBA will pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months.
SBA Express Bridge Loans:
Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000. This is a streamlined process can be used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. This loan will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. For an Express Bridge Loan, contact: St. Louis Missouri District Office, 1222 Spruce St. suite 10.103, St. Louis , MO 63103, 314-539-6600 or 500 East Walnut St. suite 103, Columbia, MO 65201, 573-382-1792
Paycheck Protection Program:
The Paycheck Protection Program was established for small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors.
Under this program:
· Eligible recipients may qualify for a loan up to $10 million determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll plus an additional 25% of that amount.
· Loan payments will be deferred for six months.
· If you maintain your workforce, SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first 8 weeks of payroll and certain other expenses following loan origination.