The Pierce County Council recently made an additional $7.75 million available to help county businesses affected by COVID-19 with their rent and mortgages.

“We have seen numerous businesses close for good due to the pandemic,” said Dave Morell, the vice chair who proposed the emergency ordinance to shift funds, in a press release. “The impact of these closures is multifold, and the council is committed to doing what it can to provide assistance where it is needed.”

Last month, the council established the Commercial Rent and Mortgage Payment Assistance Program, which was funded by about $2.5 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money. The initial response, however, showed Pierce County officials that needs went beyond what the $2.5 million could support.

According to a press release from the county, the Pierce County Economic Development Department found that businesses often expressed that rent and mortgage assistance outweighed the need for loans under the Adaptation Grant Program.

Based on this feedback, the council moved money from the grant program, in tandem with funding that had previously been allotted to other economic stabilization and recovery programs, to further support the rent and mortgage assistance program, according to the release.

More funding isn’t the only program revision. According to the release, eligibility has been expanded, funds can now be applied in arrears, and the maximum amount of funding for a business has increased.

To learn more about the program, and to apply for assistance, go to the Pierce County website.