Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 Microenterprise Assistance Program

Applications are now being accepted

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This webpage was set up by the Central Massachusetts Planning Commission (CMRPC) for use by businesses in participating central Massachusetts communities as a one-stop-shop for information regarding the microenterprise assistance program. 

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Program Overview

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The Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) administers microenterprise assistance funds from the Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 (CDBG-CV) program on behalf of 6 towns in Central Massachusetts. Participating communities include Leicester (lead community), Brookfield, Dudley, Millbury, North Brookfield and West Brookfield. 

These CDBG-CV funds were appropriated through the federal CARES Act of 2020 and were awarded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

CDBG-CV microenterprise assistance grant funding supports qualifying microenterprises that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 that are located and do business in the 6 participating towns. Business owners must meet HUD income criteria to participate. Grants up to $10,000 are provided to qualified businesses for use with eligible business expenses to help offset losses and/or expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 

Application

To download the application, please click here.

 

Once completed, you can either email or mail the completed form and attachments to:

 

microenterprise@cmrpc.org

Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission

c/o Microenterprise Application

1 Mercantile Street, Suite 520

Worcester, MA 01608

Applicant Eligibility

  • Business must have a physical establishment in one of the following towns: Brookfield, Dudley, Leicester, Millbury, North Brookfield or West Brookfield and business much serve the local area. Licensed home-based businesses may be eligible on a case-by-case basis. 

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Leicester

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Brookfield

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Dudley

Millbury

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North Brookfield

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West Brookfield

  • Business must be a microenterprise (a commercial enterprise that has 5 or fewer individual employees, at least 1 of whom owns the enterprise as of the date of application for assistance). Contract employees (1099 Contractors) count towards the employee limits for this program.

  • Business owner(s) must meet HUD low-to-moderate income limits in the community where they live. Owners of the business must earn an annual total income equal to or less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) based on family size. For information on HUD income limits in your community of residence, see HUD’s website and select income limits for the state and community where you live (not the location of your business). Income must be documented through a recent tax return or through current income documentation

  • Business must be a for-profit entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporations, or LLC)

  • Business must provide goods or services to multiple clients or customers in local area

  • Business must be able to clearly document a loss of income and/or extra expense incurred due to COVID-19 that is equal to or greater than the requested assistance

  • Business must have been established and operating before January 1, 2019 and must still be in existence (it cannot be in bankruptcy or permanently closed/out of business). Exceptions may be possible for business operating before 10/01/2019​

  • Business must be in good standing with the state and its host town:

    • Business must be current on all taxes due through March 1, 2020

    • Have active and valid state and local licenses/registrations, if applicable

    • Not be a party to litigation involving the Commonwealth or the town you operate in

  • Ineligible businesses – these types of business are NOT eligible for assistance:

    • Real estate rentals/sales businesses

    • Businesses owned by persons under age 18

    • Businesses that are chains (franchises may be eligible) 

    • Liquor stores

    • Weapons/firearms dealers

    • Lobbyists

    • Cannabis-related businesses

Amount of Funding

 

Up to $10,000 per business with demonstrated costs greater than or equal to the amount requested. This is a one-time payment. The program reserves the right to award less than the amount requested. 

Use of Funds

 

Funds can be used for working capital to cover business costs, such as rent, staffing, and utilities. Funds can also be used for purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and other items clearly required to operate in compliance with pandemic-related public health requirements. Other uses that may be eligible include technical assistance and those that generally support and stabilize the business in response to the pandemic. 

All awarded funds are required to be spent and documented within 45 days of receiving them

Microenterprise assistance grant funds may NOT be used for major equipment purchases, purchase of real property, construction activities, business expansion, or lobbying. Microenterprise funds cannot be used for costs where another source of financial assistance is available to pay that cost. Reimbursement for already-paid costs are ineligible  Grant funding may be considered as taxable income by state and federal authorities.

Award Process

 

The Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) will review submitted applications to determine eligibility. All eligible applicants will also be reviewed by the town in which their business is located for confirmation that local taxes are up to date and any local licenses and certifications are in place. On behalf of the Town of Leicester, CMRPC will award and disburse grants to eligible applicants until program funds are depleted. The program reserves the right to award less than the amount requested. 

Applicants must comply with all applicable federal and state laws and terms and conditions and, if approved, must enter into a written program assistance agreement before receiving funds. Recipients must provide documentation of how grant funds are spent within the 45-day refund window. Grant funds can be recaptured if a recipient violates the conditions of the program or its grant. 
 

Required Documentation

Please be prepared to provide the following information and documents during the application and (if approved) grant award process (other documents may be required depending on each applicant’s situation and any new DHCD/HUD guidance):

  • A copy of your most recent Federal business tax return. If your 2020 tax return has not been filed, your prior return will may be accepted.

  • A copy of most recent Federal personal tax returns for each business owner's family. If your 2020 tax return is not yet filed, their prior return may be accepted. Alternate documentation showing recent pandemic-impacted income may be allowable.

  • A copy of your license to operate/business license/professional certification, if applicable​

  • A copy of your business’s lease or mortgage, if requesting payment assistance 

  • IRS 941 forms for the past year and documentation of current employees, if applicable 

  • If you have received any other state, local or federal COVID-19 financial aid, documentation is required

  • Documentation to demonstrate that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a loss of income equal to or greater than the requested assistance. Provide a brief description and attach any supporting documentation, such as pre-pandemic and pandemic (03/10/2020) profit-loss statements. 

  • Your business’s DUNs number. If you do not yet have one, a DUNS number can be requested on an expedited basis by specifying that you are applying for a CARES Act grant. Contact DNB online or by phone at (866) 705-5711.

Questions

For questions about the program, please email microenterprise@cmprc.org or call (508) 459-3339 or (508) 459-3331.

Funding for this program comes from a grant to the Town of Leicester from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission
One Mercantile Street, Suite 520
Worcester, MA 01608
Phone 508.756.7717 Fax 508.792.6818

www.cmrpc.org

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