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HEROES Act Brings Relief for Disadvantaged Businesses, Financially-Strapped Households

May 13th, 2020

JACKSON, MS – Yesterday, Congress introduced, HR 6800, the HEROES Act, proposing a range of relief mechanisms for the health and financial consequences of COVID 19. Among the bill’s proposals, critical to the Deep South’s economic recovery, are provisions to direct support to disadvantaged businesses and financial relief for households affected by the pandemic. 

“The responses outlined in the HEROES Act recognize the harsh realities that people in our communities are facing, particularly in communities of color where the consequences of the pandemic are disproportionately felt” said Diane Standaert, Director, Hope Policy Institute. “With unemployment claims in the Deep South eclipsing claims made at the depths of the Great Recession, the response by Congress comes at a time when businesses, communities and financially-strapped households are in need of significant relief.”

Among the critical provisions of the bill are the following:

  • $3 billion for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). The resources position CDFIs, financial institutions that provide financial services in low-income communities and to people experiencing economic hardship, to address immediate and long-term needs of local people. Importantly, the funding prioritizes the work of minority led CDFIs with long track records of serving communities of color.
  • $10 billion for community based lenders to continue implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This allocation for community-based lenders ensures institutions like CDFIs and Minority Depository Institutions have the time needed to connect disadvantaged businesses, nonprofit organizations and churches to PPP resources.
  • Financial relief to individuals. Key provisions that will help people stay financially afloat include forgiveness of student loan debt, additional cash stimulus payments, and additional protections to homeowners and renters.
  • Funding to state and local governments: Additional direct support to state and local governments ensures people have access to basic services particularly in small rural towns, and help avoid the repeat of consequences of the Great Recession which lead to local goverments’ increased use of fines and fees to try to fill budget gaps.

Read more of HOPE’s analysis of COVID-19 and the Deep South here:

About Hope Policy Institute 

HOPE (Hope Enterprise Corporation, Hope Credit Union and Hope Policy Institute) provides financial services; aggregates resources; and engages in advocacy to mitigate the extent to which factors such as race, gender, birthplace and wealth limit one’s ability to prosper. Since 1994, HOPE has generated more than $2.5 billion in financing that has benefitted more than 1.5 million people in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Through the Paycheck Protection Program, HOPE has closed 1,144 loans for $64 million with a median loan size of $11,500.

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