Help on The Way for Struggling Businesses and Renters

Pennsylvania is allocating $715 million in COVID-19 relief for schools, renters and small businesses.


Small business owners and renters who are struggling to make ends meet because of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for help from the state. 

New legislation signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf allocates $570 million to rental and utility assistance programs, nearly $200 million to schools and $145 million to support businesses. The money for small businesses will be taken from the Workers’ Compensation Security Fund and the Department of Community and Economic Development will distribute the money to each county proportionately.

“Business owners and employees have worked hard to protect their customers and their communities during this pandemic,”. Wolf says in a press release. “But the pandemic has been hard on businesses, and they need and deserve our support.

Grants for small businesses will be administered by Certified Economic Development Organizations and Community Development Financial Institutions. According to the state website, to be eligible a business must:

  • Be physically located, certified to do business, and generate at least 51% of its revenues in Pennsylvania.
  • Have annual revenue of $1 million or less prior to the impact of COVID-19.
  • Have 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees prior to Feb. 15, 2020.
  • Have been in operation on Feb. 15, 2020, and if required, paid income taxes to the state and the federal government.
  • Have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 and needs the grant to support ongoing operations.

All businesses must apply through an eligible Community Development Financial Institution. Grants can range between $5,000 to $50,000 with priority given to those who have not received aid from the state or federal government.

The statewide Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance program will be administered by Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services to counties by March 7. Counties and local entities will then make payments directly to landlords or, if the landlord or utility provider refuse, to the tenant to go towards outstanding balances. More information about the COVID-19 rent and utility program can be found here

Categories: The 412