United Way of Marion County and Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic
Partnership Team up to Assist Displaced Workers and Small Businesses
United Way of Marion County Establishes $150,000 Fund to assist ALICE workers and
the Ocala/Marion Chamber of Economic Partnership establishes a local working capital
loan program for small businesses impacted by Economic Consequences of COVID-19/Coronavirus.
OCALA, Fla. (March 25, 2020) – In response to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic, United Way of Marion County & the Ocala/Marion Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP) have come together to strengthen our community by supporting local businesses and individuals/families who have been impacted by this unprecedented event.
United Way of Marion County has invested $150,000 to establish a fund to support Marion County residents who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19. The focus of the fund is to support the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population experiencing hardship due to decreased hours or unpaid leave. Over half of Marion County residents fall within the ALICE population and are living paycheck to paycheck.
The CEP is working with the Marion County Board of County Commissioners and Ocala City Council to establish a $500,000 Local Working Capital Loan Program to assist small businesses impacted by closure orders and dwindling customers due to COVID-19. The goal of the program is to 1) get funds out quickly to small businesses and 2) assist them in maintaining jobs. Applications will be reviewed through the Marion County Industrial Development Authority, which is a public entity appointed by the County. The funds would be administered through the CEP Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit.
“We know that over half of our population is struggling every day to make ends meet and are one unanticipated expense from experiencing financial hardship. COVID-19 has left many of our residents questioning how they are going to feed their family and keep their lights on,” said Scot Quintel, President and CEO of United Way of Marion County.
Specifically for residents of Marion County, the COVID-19 Assistance Fund provides rent, mortgage and utility assistance to help prevent eviction and homelessness for our community members. To be eligible to receive assistance, residents must demonstrate financial need specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be vetted by established programs through Interfaith Emergency Services and the Homeless Council of Marion County. For those seeking assistance, residents can contact United Way of Marion County’s 211 Information and Referral Crisis Line by dialing 2-1-1 or chat online at uwmc.org/211 starting Wednesday, April 1st.
“Our community has shown incredible resilience and creativity over the last few years. We have tackled several issues with unique solutions based on community partnerships. To address significant business needs in a critical time, CEP is proud to partner with Marion County and the City of Ocala on the Local Working Capital Loan Program,” said Kevin T. Sheilley, President/CEO of the Ocala/Marion Chamber and Economic Partnership. “CEP is also working with CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, the Marion County Hospital District, and several local businesses and organizations to provide informational webinars and direct support services to help businesses navigate the challenges they face at this time.”
Visit www.OcalaCEP.com/Covid-19-Updates for a comprehensive list of resources available for businesses, including webinars and links from Federal, State and Local resources.
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks. Click HERE to read the latest information and FAQs.
The United Way of Marion County is a locally governed not-for-profit organization who works to create a thriving community where adults and children achieve their full potential with access to a solid education, good health, and financially stable households. We have been a Community Solutions partner for over 56 years as we collaborate with local businesses and other non-profits to create a positive and sustainable impact in our community. We strategically invest in effective programs and services that solve complex issues, bettering the community for all.
The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership is the one-stop hub for the community’s business attraction, creation, and retention efforts. The CEP’s mission is to be THE catalyst for a prosperous community. Over the last 7 years, the Moving Forward plan has impacted the announced creation of 7,500 new jobs with wages 16% above the metro average and resulting in a capital investment of nearly $900 million. For more information, visit: www.OcalaCEP.com