Local COVID-19 assistance programs

By Mary Jo Coulehan
Special to The SUN
As a result of the special Pagosa Springs Town Council meeting last Thursday, April 2, Pagosa Springs residents and businesses now have access to a few more assistance programs, due to the restrictions imposed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many businesses are already applying for loan assistance through the newly passed CARES Act. Applications for businesses began April 3. Applications for self-employed and independent contractors opens April 10. Components of this act include the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), both of which are managed through a Small Business Administration (SBA) lender. Local SBA-approved lenders in Pagosa now include First Southwest Bank, TBK Bank and Wells Fargo. You can download applications for the PPP from these banks’ websites.
We again caution businesses to apply for the loan program that most suits your business’ needs. There are other regional and local programs that can also assist you. These programs include the Region 9 Disaster Assistance Loan Program, First Southwest Community Emergency Loan Fund and the FirstSouthwest Community Fund Micro-Grant Program. For nonprofits, you can access the Community Foundation’s Community Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) program. All of these loan programs can be found on the www.swcoda.org website under Archuleta County.
For residents impacted by lay-offs, several new programs are also available. The first program, the Workforce Incentive Program, in conjunction with the Pagosa Outreach Connection, will offer qualified applicants a $200 gift card to assist with immediate needs such as food, utility payments and the like. Applicants can go to the town’s website at www.pagosasprings.gov. Scroll down to the Local COVID-19 Assistance Programs and “Read More.” The new page refers to the aforementioned programs as well as the individual assistance programs. Applicants will need to fill out an application with proof of a layoff, proof of Archuleta County residency and a description of how the COVID-19 closures have affected the applicant economically.
Take Out Tuesdays began Tuesday, April 7, and will run throughout the month of April. The Town of Pagosa Springs, Archuleta County, Census 2020 and the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce are joining together to connect residents with free lunches offered by local restaurants while sharing critical and timely information about COVID-19 and Census 2020. Lunches, either with a set menu item or selection of items, will be offered to residents from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until the food runs out at the various locations participating each Tuesday. The restaurant participation changes each week and there will be four to six restaurants. You can visit riffraffbrewing.com/takeout-tuesdays to find out which restaurants are participating on a particular Tuesday in April.
There are other organizations also offering free meals and grocery shopping. The long-serving Loaves and Fishes organization continues to serve a free take-out meal to the public every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Hall on Lewis Street.
For seniors, shut-ins and those needing assistance, Archuleta Seniors Inc. (ASI) offers take-out meals daily except for Thursdays. In addition to the take-out meals, ASI is also offering grocery shopping services. Residents interested in signing up for these services can call the Archuleta Central Call Center at 422-7084.
We want Pagosa businesses and residents to receive as much assistance as they can. However, we also want the businesses to sign up for the programs that most meet their needs and financial status. Businesses are encouraged to contact the Chamber at 264-2360 or the Small Business Development Center at 247-7009 to receive guidance and assistance.

This story was posted on April 9, 2020.