JEFFERSONVILLE — Applications are being accepted for a multi-agency program offering forgivable loans to small businesses in Jeffersonville affected by COVID-19.

On May 8, 2020, officials from the City of Jeffersonville, in partnership with One Southern Indiana (1si), the Chamber of Commerce and economic development organization for Clark and Floyd counties, established a forgivable loan fund of up to $250,000, according to a news release.

“Jeffersonville Sustains” will provide access to operating capital for specific small businesses within Jeffersonville that have been negatively impacted by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Qualified businesses must be locally-owned and operated restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, boutiques, salons and retail shops not part of a national chain or franchise.

Jeffersonville City Council President Matt Owen provided the vision and shared his support for the program.

“A significant portion of the City’s tax revenues are derived from property tax and local income tax,” he said in the news release. “If local, small businesses are unable to remain operational and pay wages to their employees, the city loses those receipts.

“A lot has gone into building our small business community in Jeffersonville. This program is set up to protect that investment.”

The request process opened Tuesday, and applications will be accepted through Monday, May 18th, at 5 p.m. The application and other relevant information may be accessed by going to the 1si COVID-19 Response page at www.1si.org/covid-19 or later this week, at the 1si Reset website at www.1si.org/soin-reset. Hard copies of the application with instructions for submission are available at the main office of SoIN Tourism, 315 Southern Indiana Ave., Jeffersonville. A second application process will open May 19, if funds are not exhausted.

According to loan organizers, the purpose of the zero percent forgivable loan is to keep small businesses viable through the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. Loan amounts up to $5,000 will be considered and are forgivable after initial repayment terms are met. The term of the loan repayment is 15 months, with first payment due Oct. 1, 2020.

“It is in the best interest of the city to engage in every effort possible to breathe life into the local, small business community” said Jeffersonville City Council Vice President Scottie Maples. “This program will do that for several of our unique businesses that have nowhere else to turn.”

Funds will be awarded based on demonstrated need and may only be used to assist with payroll expenses, rent and utilities. The appointed loan committee will review applications and required documentation and recipients will be notified by Friday, May 22nd at 5 p.m.

“Just as all citizens and leaders of Southern Indiana came together to fight this health crisis, we are now watching as that same compassion is addressing the economic effects,” said Wendey Dant Chesser, president and CEO of One Southern Indiana in the news release. “Very few businesses — regardless of size — can survive two months with limited or no income. The Jeffersonville Sustains program will help the City’s public-facing establishments shore up their finances so they can overcome the economic effects of the pandemic.”

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