Effective on Monday, August 31, 2020, businesses that received any amount of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) funds will become eligible to apply for AK CARES grants, as will businesses that are secondary sources of income. These businesses can apply through the online application portal (www.akcaresonline.org) starting Monday.
This change to the AK CARES program was made possible by the Revised Program Legislative (RPL) submitted to the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee by Governor Mike Dunleavy on Thursday, August 20; and the Committee’s approval of that RPL today.
“I want to personally thank the Legislative Budget & Audit Committee for their focus and prompt response in approving my plan that will provide much needed critical relief to small Alaskan businesses as quickly as possible,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “I have directed my team to immediately begin distributing these funds.”
The AK CARES program launched on June 1, 2020 and was initially intended to assist Alaska’s small businesses that did not receive any federal assistance. On August 6, the program was expanded to include commercial fishermen, 501(c)6 nonprofit organizations, and small businesses that received $5,000 or less in PPP or EIDL funding. Now that these businesses have had a few weeks to submit applications and the AK CARES program still has funds remaining, the program is being expanded to ensure the State assists as many small businesses as possible.
“I appreciate the Governor’s leadership in expanding the AK CARES program, and the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee’s swift action to approve the RPL,” said DCCED Commissioner, Julie Anderson. “The PPP and EIDL funds were issued for very specific types of expenses, so being able to offer relief funds to businesses that received federal assistance, but are still in need, is significant for our local businesses and Alaska’s economy.”
Businesses that have received funds through different assistance programs – such as the PPP, EIDL, or a local grant program – can request funds for any eligible expenses under the AK CARES program; with the exception of expenses claimed or paid by other assistance programs.
The RPL approved by the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee also allows the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) maximum flexibility going forward, to ensure AK CARES meets the needs of small businesses in the most effective and efficient manner possible. This means DCCED can adjust eligibility requirements and disbursement processes as necessary to allow for full use of the federal funds made available through the CARES Act to assist Alaska businesses.
DCCED encourages businesses that will become eligible on Monday to begin preparing their applications right away. To prepare, businesses should review the AK CARES checklist, examples of eligible expenses, instructional video, frequently asked questions, and the preview of the online application, all of which can be found on the AK CARES Grant FAQs and Checklist webpage.
Once an AK CARES grant application has been submitted, the business may receive follow up phone calls and/or emails from the grant processor. Two of the main processing issues to date have been the lack of complete applications and lack of responsiveness from applicants; thus, DCCED encourages applicants to submit prompt responses to follow up questions and requests for information, which are necessary to finalize these grants. Applicants should also check their voicemails and email inboxes daily, including junk folders, to ensure they receive potential follow up questions timely.