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Northampton announces COVID relief funding program

JACKSON – A new grant program from the Northampton County Board of Commissioners will go to help local small businesses struggling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Northampton County small business community is the backbone of our local economy,” said Board Chair Charles Tyner in a press release sent on Thursday. “We recognize it has been challenging times for many of our small businesses, and we want to assist in any way possible.”

That help will come in the form of the Northampton Micro Business COVID-19 Relief Funding Program. Businesses located in the county can apply for grant money to be used to continue operating despite hardships caused by the pandemic.

The minimum grant award is a one-time check of $250 with no repayment required. Payments will be awarded on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis because of limited funding, which the county received from the CARES Act.

Checks will be distributed in June and must be used by Dec. 30, 2021.

Applications will be made available beginning at noon on Monday, March 29 through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 21. Applications and required supplemental materials should be submitted to Northampton County Local Government, P.O. Box 685, Jackson, NC 27845.

Eligibility requirements for businesses include being located in Northampton County, being a for-profit business, having 10 employees or less, and having no outstanding tax liens or legal judgments as of Jan. 6, 2021. Businesses that have previously received COVID-19 financial assistance are also eligible to apply.

Companies that are not eligible for funding, however, include but are not limited to, real estate investment, multi-level marketing, and adult entertainment. Other disqualifiers include current bankruptcy (corporate or personal) or a past due utility balance with Northampton County as of Jan. 6, 2021.

Money from the program can be used to fund working capital or operational funds to retain employees during the pandemic, to sustain business services or products, and to retain or expand workforce development and job creation.

The grant funds are not authorized to be used for refinancing bank debt, purchasing equipment for personal use, political activities, speculative ventures, pyramid sales, paying off existing debts, and more.

Businesses are urged to submit their completed applications as soon as possible due to the limited amount of funds and the extensive application review process.

“The awarding of grants to our small businesses is a wonderful effort by our county commissioners to help during the COVID crisis,” said Judy Collier, Executive Director of the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce. “I strongly encourage all small businesses with 10 or less employees to apply for the grant.”

Local businesses which have been struggling because of mandated shutdowns, employee layoffs, and operating losses will have this option to help get them back on their feet.

“This program is merely representative of the types of programs we are planning over the coming months,” Tyner stated.

For more information about the new program, contact Northampton County’s Economic Development Office at 252-534-1092.