COVID-19 News Updates: 6/19/20

June 19, 2020

Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 6/19/20. See our Coronavirus Resource Guide for extensive resources and information.

Main Street Lending Program kicks off

On Monday, the Federal Reserve launched its latest life raft for U.S. businesses hurt by COVID-19: the Main Street lending program. The program will offer up to $600 billion in loans through participating lenders to small/medium-sized businesses that were in good shape before the pandemic began.

The Fed and the Treasury are also considering expanding the program to nonprofit organizations in addition to businesses. “Nonprofit organizations play a vital role in our economy and our society, and often are on the frontlines of our nation’s response to COVID-19,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement Tuesday. “Many now face serious financial strains resulting from the disruptions to economic activity caused by the pandemic.”

Read the FAQ to learn more about the program.

Buncombe County to hold contact tracing webinar

Join the conversation and hear from a panel of local experts as they share the latest on testing, contact tracing, and environmental health in the COVID-19 response efforts. This is a continuation of their Let’s Talk public series where the County looks at how COVID-19 is affecting multiple aspects of residents’ lives, what’s important to know, and how we can stay healthy in mind, body, and in social justice initiatives.

Register online.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been awarded $1.5 Million to expand mental health support via crisis counseling, with a special focus on historically marginalized communities

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been awarded $1.5 million to support and expand the Hope4NC program, which connects North Carolinians to mental health supports that help them cope and build resilience during times of crisis.

The grant will fund the existing Hope4NC Helpline (1-855-587-3463) and enable a Crisis Counseling Program tailored for COVID-19, which will provide immediate crisis counseling services to individuals affected by the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis in all 100 North Carolina counties. It is funded through FEMA in coordination with the Center for Mental Health Services (a division within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

The Hope4NC program, along with other efforts by the Department, is being intentionally designed to provide essential supports and better linkages to care for individuals in these communities. These related initiatives include hiring staff who represent these populations and those with high levels of cultural and linguistic competency as Community Health Workers and Certified Peer Support Specialists.

SBA reopens disaster loans for small businesses and nonprofits

 After closing applications for Economic Injury Disaster Recovery (EIDL) loans back in April, the U.S. Small Business Association has announced that an additional round of funding has been opened up. The first round of SBA loans, which pulled from a pool of $17 billion, went quickly. The SBA reported that they received more than $5 million in applications. In May, applications opened up – but only for farm and agricultural businesses.

Now, funds will be opened back up to a broader range of businesses and nonprofits. Applications open on Monday, and will remain open through the end of the year.

Learn more on the SBA’s website.

State Department of Health and Human Services earmarks $26 Million to help mitigate economic disruption and help families who may be facing eviction

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services also announced this week that the state’s Community Action Agencies have begun receiving flexible funds that can be used to help low-income individuals and families meet a variety of needs by COVID-19.

These funds are part of the federal Community Services Block Grant and can, among other allowable uses, help eligible residents facing eviction with unmet rent and utility expenses. Community Action Agencies have been helping distribute funds like this, among other initiatives for over 50 years, according to executive director Sharon Goodson. CAAs also provide services like case management, transportation, housing, eviction and emergency assistance program, and more.

To apply for help, contact your local Community Action Agency. For additional information on the CSBG funding or contact information for the 33 Community Action Agencies in North Carolina, visit