New programs available for those needing rent, small business funding

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- New programs and extended deadlines are now in effect for people looking for assistance with rent, small business funding and more.

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania announced it has extended unemployment compensation benefits for 13 more weeks. There are new funding resources now available for small businesses and for others as well.

The Manayunk Chambers Guest House, a bed and breakfast, has been closed since mid-March due to COVID-19.

"It stopped business completely to a screeching halt," said owner Mark Jerde.

And even as the economy reopens, struggles continue for small businesses.

"We were planning on such a strong summer this year that never actually produced," said Jerde.

The good news is grants, ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, are now available. The first round of applications for the small business assistance grant program is open as of this week.

"A business must be physically located in Pennsylvania. They should have annual revenue of $1 million or less and have 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees," said Blessy Thomas, of the Enterprise Center.

At least 50% of the grants will be awarded to historically disadvantaged businesses.

Free student loan help is also available thanks to a partnership between Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and a student loan advisory service called Summer.

"You can sync your loans, see everything you owe in one place," said Founder and CEO Will Sealy.

Pennsylvania residents can now use Summer free of charge to get customized loan savings recommendations.

"And so we're enrolling borrowers in these programs with A to Z support along the way," said Sealy.

More help is also available for renters and homeowners. Applications for financial assistance through the federal CARES Act are available as of this week.

In Pennsylvania, you can start submitting applications on Monday, July 6 until September 30.

Enrollment for New Jersey's COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program also starts on Monday but be aware the enrollment period for this program ends quickly on Friday, July 10, at 5 p.m.

Also, be aware, LIHEAP, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, is running its Recovery Crisis Program until August 31.

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