Small Business Resources

A Message From Chrissy

 Thank you for reaching out to me about small businesses in our community during this coronavirus pandemic. As a former small business leader, I know firsthand the unique struggles facing our small businesses and how those struggles have been greatly exacerbated by this crisis facing our Commonwealth and country. In Washington and in our community, I’ve been working with local, state, and federal officials to protect our small businesses and provide them the relief they need.

These efforts are, in large part, thanks to what I’m hearing on the ground from people like you, small business owners, leaders, and employees. As Congress works towards its next potential emergency relief package, I would like to hear directly from you about your needs and what we in Congress can be doing to best serve you.

- Representative Chrissy Houlahan
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Our small business staffers stand ready to help you navigate this unprecedented time and make the best decisions for your unique situation. To receive updates from our office or to speak with our staff, please call 202-225-4315.

See the full archive of our small business updates here


From the Federal Government

On March 27, 2020, I voted for the bipartisan CARES Act, which created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). These relief programs work to provide needed assistance to small businesses during this challenging time. Following the passage of the CARES Act, and thanks to the feedback I received from small business owners in our district, I sent a letter to congressional leadership asking for any new COVID-19 response legislation to include fixes to the EIDL and PPP loan programs.

On April 23, 2020, I voted for the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. This bipartisan package provided an additional $484 billion in small business relief. This legislation also included several measures that I advocated for on behalf of our community, including an additional $310 billion to the PPP, with $60 billion set aside for small and medium-sized lenders to ensure that our smallest of small businesses can access these critical resources.

On May 15, 2020, I voted to pass the HEROES Act through the House of Representatives. In addition to extending the Paycheck Protection Program, this legislation includes many items I advocated for, including a carve out for micro-businesses, greater flexibility for PPP forgiveness, and better transparency and reporting. While I was disappointed that the Senate refused to consider this legislation, I remained committed to working across the aisle to provide needed assistance.

Since the start of the pandemic, I have advocated for legislation to provide additional targeted relief for small businesses. Here are a few notable bipartisan bills that I have cosponsored:

  • The RESTART Act, which would establish a loan program to jump-start businesses affected by COVID-19 and extend the loan forgiveness period for PPP loans made to the hardest-hit businesses. This legislation is particularly focused on sectors of our economy that may have longer reopening timelines than others.
  • The Small Business PPE Tax Credit Act, which would provide a tax credit of up to $25,000 for the purchase of personal protective equipment for small businesses, non-profits, veterans' organizations, independent contractors, and others.
  • The RESTAURANTS Act of 2020, which would provide $120 billion in funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. This fund would provide grants to food and beverage purveyors to cover specified costs and would prioritize marginalized and underrepresented communities.

On December 21, 2020, I voted to pass another long-awaited and long-overdue bipartisan COVID relief deal. This $908 billion package provided much needed support for small businesses, extended unemployment compensation and direct payments for individuals and families, funding to support struggling industries, protections for underserved and low-income communities, and many other critical relief measures. I also worked to include the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act, a bipartisan bill I introduced to help streamline the PPP forgiveness process to help small business owners retain their workers and keep Pennsylvanians employed. To learn more about this latest package, please read my press release here. If you are a small business owner looking to apply for the second round of PPP funding, please find that guidance here.

On March 10, 2021, I voted for President Biden's American Rescue Plan, which aims to deliver the relief needed to contain the virus, get people back to work and our children back to school, and rebuild the economy. Notably, the American Rescue Plan expands relief for our hardest hit small businesses and industries. This historic relief package provided an additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program and $15 billion for EIDL payments. Furthermore, this legislation allocated $28.6 billion to revitalize restaurants, food, and beverage establishments and additional measures to promote access to pandemic assistance for small and disadvantaged businesses. To learn more about the American Rescue Plan, please read my press release here.

From the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) released the guidance for COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance grants. This comes after Gov. Wolf’s June 8th announcement of the $225 million grant program made possible by the Federal CARES Act, which Rep. Houlahan helped to pass into law. DCED will distribute the funding to the Pennsylvania CDFI Network, which will then administer the funding in the form of:

  • Grants to cover operating expenses for the duration of the shutdown and the transition period to re-opening
  • Grants to cover technical assistance, including training and guidance, for business owners as they stabilize and relaunch their businesses
  • Debt payment relief for CDFI Pennsylvania borrowers
  • Loan loss reserves for CDFIs

Learn more about the program and find a CDFI through which to apply here.

DCED announced that 133 more companies had been approved for funding in the final disbursement of the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program.  Read more here.

As our Commonwealth begins to reopen, Governor Wolf’s administration has provided updated resources for businesses to follow during this time. Please take a moment to review these guidelines to help ensure our community stays healthy and safe.

As many have experienced firsthand, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on small businesses in Pennsylvania and across the nation. As a former entrepreneur and Member of the House Small Business Committee, I share your concerns regarding the many challenges this pandemic has brought for our small business owners and employees. Please know that I am working with my colleagues in Washington to support and ensure the safety and wellbeing of our small businesses and families.

Resources

Chester County's initiative 'Restore Chester County' is detailed here. Resources for Berks County's small businesses can be found here

For more information specific to Chester County, click here

For more information specific to Berks County, click here

The PA Department of Community and Economic Development established a 'Funding Program' site to help small business owners navigate their options. Check it out here.

Berks County has launched the Small Business Restart Loan Program for local small businesses. Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, June 15, 2020. Click here for more information. Applications are available here.



The U.S. Department of Commerce provides guidance on workplace safety here

Small Business guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Small Business guidance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) 

For information and resources on PPE for Small Businesses, see this directory compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

For the Small Business Committee's FAQs on Disaster Loans, click here


Our Office's Response

Below you will find some of our office's legislative actions to help small businesses.

Legislative Actions

  • I introduced a bipartisan bill to expedite the PPP loan forgiveness process for small business owners. Learn more about the bill here.
  • We announced that the Paycheck Protection Program saved over 190,000 jobs in PA-06 and helped a total of 18,148 businesses. To find out more, read our release here.
  • I helped pass the PPP Flexibility Act.
  • I supported the COVID-19 Relief for Small Businesses Act of 2020, which includes a wide variety of measures designed to help small businesses, from zero interest loans, to debt relief, to grants.

  • Our office was proud to announce that the City of Reading has been awarded nearly $200,000 in federal grants, through the CARES Act, to assist in its effort to contain, mitigate the spread of, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    From the beginning, I have been clear that a successful response to this pandemic would require the coordinate of local, state, and federal officials. I’m grateful to Mayor Moran for his proactive measures. We are in this together, and, as we move towards reopening, we must continue to be vigilant and holistic in our response to this virus at every level.

  • Based on your feedback on the EIDL and PPP loan processes, I sent this letter to congressional leadership asking for the fourth COVID-19 legislative aid package to address the issues raised by my constituents.
  • I led a bipartisan effort to support small business that have contracts with our federal government during coronavirus. Read our full press release here
  • Signed a letter with other members of the Small Business Committee to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Fed Chair Powell asking that loans to businesses with less than 25 employees, independent contactors, and underserved groups be prioritized. It also asks for liquidity assistance to be provided to smaller banks and credit unions through PPP loan purchasing. Finally, it asks that larger corporations be required to treat their smaller business partners and suppliers fairly in order to receive assistance through the CARES Act.
  • We helped pass the first coronavirus emergency package in Congress, which provides $1 billion in loan subsidies, which would enable the Small Business Administration to provide an estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to help those small businesses affected by the outbreak.
  • Sent a bipartisan letter to the Small Business Administration urging clarity on the process for our small businesses to access much-needed economic disaster assistance funds.
  • Cosponsored the SBA Business Stabilization Direct Loan Program Act of 2020, which established a loan program at the Small Business Administration to assist small businesses that have been hurt by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • I led a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Small Business Administration in an effort to unlock disaster relief loans to support our small businesses across the Commonwealth. See the full letter below and here: