Economic recovery program to help businesses, nonprofits find relief during pandemic

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Closed signs hang in multiple windows across New Albany as business owners have been forced to shut down because of the coronavirus. With no definite timeline of when they’ll be able to reopen, Floyd County commissioners launched an economic recovery program to bring relief to businesses that need it.

“This is a downturn for a lot of these businesses,” said Floyd County Commissioner John Schellenberger. “The commissioners and our staff are trying to be as resourceful as we can.”

That’s why commissioners created a five-pronged economic recovery program in the county.

“We tried to focus on the restaurants,” said Schellenberger. “We tried to focus on the small businesses that have been impacted.”

The program has five elements, each serving a slightly different purpose.

It includes a community food initiative that buys meals from local restaurants, then gives them to nonprofits to feed the homeless and elderly.

“With that, I think we’re up to 700 meals a week,” said Schellenberger, noting it doesn’t just help to keep restaurants afloat, but suppliers as well.

The program also includes an emergency loan fund for immediate assistance to local businesses impacted by the pandemic. Schellenberger says that fund has $360,000 dollars in financial aid.

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There is also a Fast Track Fund which gives money to businesses working to repurpose their equipment to make essential medical equipment like PPE, and a small business microloan for businesses with 5 employees or less.  

 “They’re feeling that same impact as other companies are,” said Schellenberger.

Moving forward, the program includes the Ingenuity and Innovation fund for businesses or people with an idea to create equipment or materials to help fight the virus.

“This is a time for us to all step up, think outside the box and help out,” said Schellenberger.

He added that commissioners plan to continue to help, not just with funding, but also to be a connector of people and ideas to resources.

“These are uncharted waters and we’re all in this together,” said Schellenberger.

For information on the loans and how to apply, click here.

Contact reporter Abby Lutz at Follow her on Twitter (@abbyjlutz) and Facebook.

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