Government Affairs Monthly Report
|Public Policy/Government Affairs Report During the COVID-19 Crisis
I sincerely hope you and your families are all safe and sound and doing as well as can be expected in these crazy times. Rest assured that SSBR, the Colorado Association of REALTORS® and NAR are doing everything we can to protect your business in the public policy sector, and to make sure there are resources available to those who may need some financial relief.
As you might imagine, all levels of government right now are focused on health and safety. Not much else is happening, so I wanted to change my monthly report to you to reflect what efforts are being made by the Federal and State government along with CAR and NAR to provide some financial assistance for those who may need it as we deal with this pandemic.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
As you know the Federal Government last week passed a 3 Trillion Dollar relief package to assist people and businesses all over the country who are in need due to this crisis. The package includes The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides forgivable loans of up to $10 million for costs incurred from February 15, 2020 to June 30, 2020. Loans can be used for payroll, business rent, business mortgage interest, or business-related utilities.
TODAY (Friday April 3rd) is the first day that small businesses can apply for these loans. This program is on a first come, first served basis, so were encouraging you to apply for this assistance soon if you think this is something that can help your business. The application for the loan can be found at SMDRA.com or directly at the Colorado Office of Economic Development website here: https://choosecolorado.com/covid19/
Also at that link, youll find helpful information about other programs created by this Federal relief package. Some of these programs may or may not apply to your specific business model, but its important for you to know whats there. Please go to that website soon and see whats available to you.
Next is the part that many of our members functioning as independent contractors are most anxious to learn about - unemployment assistance. The Federal relief package DOES INDEED MAKE UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AVAILABLE TO INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS. This was a landmark win for NAR, since previously that class of worker was not eligible for unemployment benefits during usual economic conditions. This is an emergency, and our federal and state governments have responded.
THE FIRST DAY INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS WILL BE ABLE TO APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IS NEXT FRIDAY, APRIL 10TH. At that time, if you need to file for unemployment, go to the Colorado Department of Labor website here: https://www.colorado.gov/cdle. This program also has a finite amount of money, and we dont yet have clarity on what the federal government will do if these economic conditions worsen. Again, if you are in need, we encourage you to apply as soon as you can beginning on April 10th. The current legislation was written to provide unemployment benefits for somewhere around $600 per week (which may or may not be supplemented by additional state benefits) for a total of four months ending on December 31st.
Remember, this is the best and most accurate information that we have right now, but things change in this crisis minute by minute. Please keep checking the state websites I mentioned for the most accurate information, and well do our very best to make sure SSBRs website is up to date as well. You can also use CARs COVID 19 portal for additional information https://www.coloradorealtors.com/colorado-realtor-coronavirus-information-portal/.
Nick Bokone, Public Affairs Consultant
Steamboat Springs Board of REALTORS®