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COVID-19 Response Program

Overview

On March 19, Governor Holcomb took additional actions to protect and support Hoosiers during the COVID-19 outbreak with Executive Order 20-05. This order directs multiple state agencies on the expectations of providing support and protection to Hoosiers across the State. The Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) has therefore been issued the following action item: Community Development Block Grant funds may be redirected to assist with COVID-19 needs based on guidance from the United States Housing and Urban Development.

COVID-19 Response Program was created to address the immediate impacts of COVID-19 on Indiana’s rural communities. Funds are derived from the State’s annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) allocation and guidance was provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on how the funds were to be used.

Beginning in April, OCRA began addressing COVID-19 impact on Indiana communities. It has since awarded 112 grants to 62 communities, totaling more than $20.9 million through the COVID-19 Response Program (Phase 1 & 2).

COVID-19 Response Grantees (Phase 1 & 2)


Phase 3

On Dec. 7, 2020, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and OCRA announced a third phase of COVID-19 Response Program is now open for applications. For this round, eligible applicants include non-entitlement and entitlement local units of government and can apply for up to $250,000. The eligible activities include: mental health services, childcare services, public WiFi locations, food pantry or bank services, subsistence payment programs, or grants or loans to businesses to retain low-to-moderate (LMI) jobs. Phase 3 is a competitive process and communities that received an award in either previous phase may apply again. Please download a copy of the instructions for a list of all grant requirements and instructions.

Resources

Timeline

Proposals are being accepted until 11:59 p.m. ET Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. However, applicants are encouraged to submit by 4 p.m. ET as there will be no technical support available after that time. Proposal submission will be collected via the electronic Grants Management System. Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 26, 2021 with funding awards being announced on Thursday, April 1, 2021.

Public hearings

The first public hearing needs to occur after the submission of the proposal, but before the submission of the application. Are you looking for forms related to public hearings? Be sure to visit our Handbook & Forms page. Questions on conducting a virtual public hearing should be directed to the Indiana Public Access Counselor.

If you have any questions, please consult your OCRA Community Liaison or email info@ocra.in.gov.


Phase 2

Eligible applicants include non-entitlement local units of government and can apply for up to $250,000. The two eligible economic recovery activities include grants or loans to businesses to retain low-to-moderate (LMI) jobs.

On Aug. 27, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and OCRA announced that an additional 42 rural Hoosier communities will receive more than $10.09 million in federal grant during Phase 2. Click here to read the full release.

In order to provide further detail and an avenue to answer questions, OCRA  hosted a webinar on June 4. Topics covered in the webinar include: application process, eligible activities and scoring criteria. Please note: deadline dates have been adjusted since the recording of this webinar. 

Additional Resources

What's different about this phase?

  • Phase 2 is a competitive process;
  • In Phase 2, more information is being requested up-front to reduce after award administration;
  • Communities that received an award in phase 1 may apply again for phase 2;
  • Communities that applied in phase 1 but did not receive an award:
    • Receive 10 points automatically;
    • Phase 1 economic recovery application can be reopened.

Eligible Activities

  • Must meet a National Objective and Eligible Activity;
  • Maximum grant amount $250,000
Project TypeEligible Activities
Grants to Business to Retain LMI Jobs

Working capital; continue operations; support remote work.

Additional requirements:
- Up to $10,000 per business
- 2 years of annual reporting after closeout

Loans to Business to Retain LMI Jobs 
 Working capital; continue operations; support remote work.

Additional requirements:
- Up to $25,000 per business 
- 3 to 5 year term 
- Up to 2% interest 
- Up to 1% loan administration fee 
- Monthly, quarterly, or annual payments 
- Balance can convert to a grant if business retains jobs for at least 2 years 
- Payments can be deferred for first six months at 0% interest 
- Requires annual reporting by the community in perpetuity

If you have any questions, please consult your OCRA Community Liaison or email info@ocra.in.gov.


Phase 1: Immediate Needs

On April 1, the COVID-19 Response Program launched and, over the course of two weeks, received 108 Letters of Need, totaling an estimated $23 million in requests. On April 22, Lt. Governor Crouch announced the first 13 recipients of this program.

  • Click here to read the press release with descriptions of what each community will do with their funding.

On April 30, an additional 49 rural Hoosier communities received more than $8.8 million in federal grant funding through the new COVID-19 Response Program. “With today’s announcement, Indiana has awarded more than $10.7 million to our rural communities,” said Lt. Governor Crouch. “From increasing access to necessary testing and medical supplies to providing businesses and their workers with much needed relief, these funds are directly assisting in the fight against COVID-19.”

Resources

Program Criteria

  • Must be a non-entitlement local unit of government;
  • Cannot have any unresolved findings or overdue documents;
  • Must meet a National Objective and Eligible Activity;
  • Must hold at least one public hearing before release of funds, and a second at closeout;
  • Applicant can show they have the capacity to complete the activity:
    • Activity is considered an exempt or categorically excluded subject to activity for Environmental Review;
    • Applicant has already achieved site control;
  • Communities will work directly with OCRA through the application and administration process:
    • Each grant will be guided by respective Community Liaison, unless the request requires the guidance of the CDBG Program Director;
    • Community and the OCRA staff member will work together to develop the project;
    • Procuring a Grant Administrator is optional for the COVID-19 Response program;
  • Administration costs from CDBG funds is limited to 2.5% of the request.

Questions should be directed to your respective Community Liaison or email info@ocra.in.gov.