City of Pittsfield Mayor announces $1.1M aid package to help residents and businesses affected by coronavirus


PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) — Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer announce on Friday, the City of Pittsfield COVID-19 Economic Recovery Program, a $1.1 million package of local and federal funding to help support residents, small businesses, community organizations, and cultural institutions affected by the pandemic.

“I have designed a robust economic recovery program that will help to meet some of the critical
financial needs in our city brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will be put to
work right here in Pittsfield and that is extremely good news for many members of our
community who are experiencing tremendous financial strain during this very challenging time,”
Tyer said.

The Program reportedly includes $789,382 in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), to be dispersed throughout Pittsfield’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

Director Deanna Ruffer, of the city’s Department of Community Development said in a statement, “My team and I are extremely pleased to have worked on the development of this crucial
economic relief program. As my office works closely with residents and local businesses on a
daily basis, we recognize and understand just how vital these resources are needed in our city.”

“For over 40 years, the CDBG program has provided critical resources to the most vulnerable in
our community. We are pleased Congress provided additional funding for this program during
this time of urgent need throughout our community and we hope that this funding will offer some
measure of assistance in the weeks ahead.”

Mayor Tyer said, “With the support of the City Council, these funds, in the form of grants,
could be available in early May to assist Pittsfield families with rent, mortgage, and utility

The CDBG funding will reportedly be supplemented by two local sourced of aid from Community Preservation Funds and the Small Business Fund.

“I am submitting an emergency request to the Community Preservation Committee for a
$100,000 allocation from the Community Preservation Funds to provide rental assistance to
Pittsfield families,” Tyer said. “Also, I will dedicate 200,000 dollars from the Small Business
Fund to help small businesses with cash flow. Small businesses would be eligible for up to
$10,000 in forgivable loans if they commit to retaining or rehiring employees by the end of

Eligible homeowners and renters could reportedly receive up to three months or a maximum of $5,000 per household to help pay for a mortgage, rent, or utilities. The Berkshire Regional Housing Authority (BRHA) will reportedly administer this portion of the city’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Program and be able to provide meditation and other services to Pittsfield residents while they stay in their homes.

Grants of up to $10,000 will reportedly be offered to Pittsfield’s small businesses that are in need due to significant losses and even closures.

The funds are said to help small businesses in the city retain and rehire employees as well as help businesses to adapt their operations in order stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery period.

An additional element of the plan reportedly includes the use of CDBG funds to help enhance the vital work of several community partners that have existing or new programs in place to help offer support in the pandemic response.

“These community partners are on the front lines helping residents with many of their daily
needs. I am pledging support to the Elizabeth Freeman Center in their ongoing fight against
sexual assault and domestic violence, UCP of Western Massachusetts, and Elder Services for
enhancing and extending their food service programs, as well as to ServiceNet for continue their
outstanding service to the homeless during this public health crisis,” the mayor said.

Additional public service funds will reportedly be available through a rolling application process to help meet needs as they come up.

Additionally, grants will reportedly be available to cultural institutions for job retention, creation, and programming.

“Cultural institutions are essential to Pittsfield’s economy and to our sense of well-being. They
have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and I am proposing funds to help these creative
cultural organizations reopen and re-establish their presence and programming in our city,” Tyer


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