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To avoid foreclosure, Lonsdale homeowners may apply for the CARES Act Economic Development grant program. Residents, small business owners and nonprofit organizations are all eligible to apply for the grant, which the city will distribute on a first come, first serve basis with non-essential businesses given priority. (Metro Creative image)

Small businesses, families and nonprofit organizations have each dealt with their share of struggles as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s economic impacts.

Applying for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant program is one step Lonsdale residents may take to make ends meet. At its Thursday meeting, the Lonsdale City Council approved the Lonsdale CARES Act Economic Development grant program policy and application.

Minnesota, as a whole, received $841 million through the CARES Act. Gov. Tim Walz and the Legislative Advisory Committee determined counties, cities and township will receive approximately $78 per resident, and with that formula applied, Lonsdale received approximately $311,000 in CARES Act funding. The city will offer grants of up to $3,500 to approved applicants, on a first come, first serve basis.

City Administrator Joel Erickson listed a variety of ways grant applicants may spend the CARES Act funding.

Small businesses may use funds to reimburse the cost of closing, whether required or voluntary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Funds may also reimburse businesses that lost income as a result of decreased customer demand. Unemployment insurance costs and employment training programs for furloughed employees are other funding options.

Nonprofit organizations may apply CARES Act funding to reimburse decreased revenue, particularly if fundraising events that keep the nonprofits afloat were cancelled to prevent the spread of the virus.

Individual residents could get a piece of the pie as well. CARES Act funding could help renters avoid eviction if they have overdue payments or help homeowners avoid foreclosure by covering mortgage payments. Unexpected costs for emergencies, like funerals, and electrical utility bills are also included in the list of funding options. For water bills, which the CARES Act will not reimburse, Erickson recommends families look into opportunities through Three Rivers Community Action of Rice County.

The city of Lonsdale will likely use a portion of the funds to reimburse itself for telecommuting, personal protective equipment, sick and paid family leave as a result of the coronavirus, and overtime pay for employees who worked to resolve coronavirus-related issues.

Non-essential businesses will be given first priority, said Erickson, if funds remain after the first 60-day grant application period, the city may accept another round of applications.

Rice County will receive any leftover funding the city of Lonsdale doesn’t exhaust by its mid-December deadline. If the county does not use the funding after a certain period, it will return to the state.

For questions, contact Erickson at 507-744-2327 or jerickson@lonstel.com.

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-333-3135. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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