Messages and artwork continue to pop up in windows of downtown businesses on Main Street Bangor in April. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

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The city of Bangor has $250,000 available to help small Bangor businesses rehire employees, pay the rent or cover other expenses as they try to make up ground they lost due to the coronavirus pandemic that forced many businesses to close their doors.

The grants for businesses with 20 or fewer employees come from nearly $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding Bangor received under the CARES Act, the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package passed in March. The grants are aimed at addressing homeless needs, food insecurity and business assistance during the pandemic, said Tyler Collins, a community and economic development officer for the city.

There are two types of grants available to small businesses in Bangor that can show they’ve seen at least a 50 percent decline in sales since Feb. 29. They can use the funds granted to cover rent, mortgage payments, employee wages, utilities, supplies and taxes. A list of ineligible uses and other restrictions is available on the city’s website.

The first type of grant, worth up to $10,000, is for businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees. Recipients must either rehire a low- to moderate-income employee who was laid off, or hire a new low- to moderate-income employee.

The second type, which can be as high as $3,500, is for businesses called “microenterprises,” with five or fewer employees including an owner. Eligible business owners must have an income at or below 80 percent of the area’s median income, which for a single-person household is $33,160.

While information directly related to how many businesses in Bangor would qualify for assistance isn’t available, Collins said the city would adjust requirements as needed.

“We are prepared to make changes to either or both programs if necessary,” he said.

The deadline for both grant programs is June 30. Applications are available online.

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.