City of Erie business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for American Rescue Plan dollars, a total of $9 million now being offered. Leaders say more than 20 business owners have already applied in the last 24 hours.

Officials with the City of Erie announced that business owners can now apply for American Rescue Plan funding opportunities. There are seven funding opportunities for city business owners to apply before 2024. By that time, the city will need to have allocated the $9 million federal dollars.

“We were very happy when the final rule came out for this ARP funding that it was going to be a little bit easier. It was a broader scope that we could use to apply these funds. We’re really hoping that a wide group of businesses, not just downtown, but throughout the city is anxious to apply,” said Jennifer Hoffman, Business Development Officer for the City of Erie.

Since the application opened on Thursday, 29 business owners have applied for American Rescue Plan funding. According to Hoffman, many of these applicants are interested in the ARP Flagship Fund.

“Small businesses that can apply for up to $2,500 in a grant for some relief or for some expansion projects. Also, the restaurant and entertainment venue industry relief grant, I think, is going to be very popular as well,” Hoffman said.

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Hoffman says she hopes, by the end of this year, many city businesses will benefit from these federal dollars.

“It’s my hope that these funds are coming at the right time. Everybody knows that so many of our businesses have weather storms, this COVID storm, and it’s been very difficult,” Hoffman said.

There will be multiple Zoom sessions on the January 25th and 26th.