KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Help is on the way for Kansas Citians in Clay County who’ve suffered losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A new $2.5 million dollar infusion of federal aid seeks to put money directly in the pockets of struggling entrepreneurs and workers.
There’s nearly $12 million allocated to the Kansas City portion of Clay County from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act.
Northland council members and Clay County commissioners have agreed to spend $2.5 million of that money to provide direct aid to small businesses and displaced workers. $1.5 million will go into the city’s small business relief program, where enterprises with 75 or fewer workers in the Clay County portion of Kansas City can get grants of up to $50 thousand dollars each to continue operating.
“One of the things that’s been so devastating with COVID is that over 30% of restaurants nationally have closed because of COVID,” northland Councilwoman Heather Hall said. “Other small businesses have been closing. We don’t want that to happen anymore. We want that to stop. We want this money to be used through the small business grant recovery program to help them right now.”
The council created the city-wide small business relief program with $500,000 in March. However, there’s only about $68,000 remaining in that fund.
Northland Neighborhoods Inc. also is distributing $1 million in CARES act money to provide grants to Kansas Citians in Clay County who need help to pay for rent, utilities, mortgages, food or find housing.
Mayor Quinton Lucas says the majority of CARES act money, more than $9 million, will cover the city’s soaring public safety and public health costs in Clay County. This includes paying overtime to maintain first responder staffing when workers have been quarantined by the virus.