City releasing funds for small businesses impacted by encampments

Published on November 16, 2023

$500,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds will support small businesses 

DENVER -- Mayor Mike Johnston, City Councilman Darell Watson, and Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) announced the release today of $500,000 in federal funds to support small businesses through grant dollars and technical assistance. DEDO is accepting applications for grants up to $15,000 to address ongoing post-pandemic challenges, and this round is focused on small businesses that have been impacted by nearby encampments.This effort complements the city’s House1000 initiative as the city continues to move individuals and families experiencing homelessness indoors and permanently close encampments.   

The grants are a continuation of DEDO’s Business Impact Opportunity Fund, federally funded through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars. Since 2022, over $5.58 million in grant funds have been disbursed through the fund to support 435 small businesses.  
 
“We know the pandemic struck a major blow to so many Denver businesses, and many continue to face impacts due to encampments,” said Mayor Johnston. “We took this important step of offering more support to ensure these businesses can survive and thrive as we work hard to get all of our neighbors housed and make Denver the best city to live, work, and play.” 
 
“DEDO has been at the forefront of relief efforts since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Adeeb Khan, Executive Director of DEDO. “Since March 2020, DEDO has released over $35 million in various relief and recovery dollars. With this new round of funding, we remain nimble in how we are meeting the most pressing needs of small businesses in Denver that continue to face challenges caused by the pandemic.”   
 
As with previous grant rounds, the city’s contracted partner on the program is Mile High United Way, which adds significant capacity in providing technical assistance, one-on-one support for applicants, and managing disbursement of funds to eligible businesses. 

“Small businesses are catalysts for social and economic vitality not just in District 9 but throughout our city,” said City Councilman Darrell Watson, District 9. “I appreciate the city coordinating with my office and with community to develop a program that provides some financial relief to these businesses that are so important to the fabric of our community.”  

Businesses are encouraged to review eligibility requirements prior to applying. Learn more about information sessions, 1:1 coaching and the application here. Applications for the current round are open now through Thursday, December 14, 2023 at 5 p.m.  

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About Denver Economic Development & Opportunity 
Denver Economic Development & Opportunity is creating an economy that works for everyone. Learn more at denvergov.org/economicdevelopment.