Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - $4 million has been allocated to a new grant program benefiting small businesses in Olmsted County that have been hit hard by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money for the small business assistance is coming from the $19.1 million in federal CARES Act funding that was recently distributed to Olmsted County. In addition to the small business grant program administered by Rochester Area Economic Development Incorporated, Olmsted County Commissioners also voted today to extend $1 million in grant money to assist local nonprofit organizations that will be administered by the Rochester Area Foundation.

The County Board voted to use $8.9 million from the federal assistance to cover its pandemic related expenses. It’s a long list that includes the COVID-19 testing facility at Graham Park, modifications to the Rochester Community Warming Center to serve the homeless during the coming winter and obtaining portable technology to handle the higher public assistance workload associated with the pandemic.

Another $4.7 million is being directed to COVID-19 related needs for vulnerable citizens. That includes emergency assistance to families or individuals, food deliveries to vulnerable people, testing at-risk groups, and providing mental health services. Another $500,000 will be used for unfunded mental health needs in the public school systems throughout Olmsted County.

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