Grant Program FAQs

 

Q: How do I apply for the Osceola County Emergency Economic Relief Grant Program?
A: Applications and all supporting documentation shall be submitted and uploaded via the County’s weveopenedsafely.com website.

Q: Can I use this same website to apply for home rental assistance?
A: No. This is an Emergency Economic Relief Grant Program businesses and not-for-profit entities. For information related to home rental/mortgage financial assistance please visit https://housing.osceola.org.

Q: How much can I apply for?
A: Eligible applicants may receive emergency funding on a reimbursement basis, based on the following tiers:

  • Up to $5,000 for home based businesses, and businesses with one (1) employee, or non-profits with no employees (volunteers only).
  • Up to $10,000 for businesses with 2-25 employees
  • Up to $20,000 for businesses with 26 or more employees

Q: What is considered home-based business?
A: A home-based business is any enterprise for which the principal administrative and managerial activities take place within an individual’s personal residence.  An applicant listing the residential address as the business address, or if the business registration and/or licenses show a residential address as the business address, the application will be processed as a home-based business.

Q: My business meets the definition of a home-based business. What is the maximum grant I can apply for?
A: A home-based business, regardless of the number of employees listed in the application, is eligible for a reimbursement grant of up to $5,000.00.

Q: I have a home-based business. Is my residential mortgage/rent an eligible expense for reimbursement?
A: Yes. If the business or non-profit is operated out of a residential property, the residential mortgage/rent paid between March and September 2020 could be eligible for reimbursement. However, the refund of mortgage/rent expense will be limited to 50%.

Q: I own more than one business. Can I apply for multiple grants, one for each of my businesses?
A: Yes. Owners of multiple businesses can apply under each business individually, up to one grant per business.

Q: When does the Emergency Economic Relief Grant application process begin?
A: The application process for the CARES Act funded grants begins Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 8:00 AM.

Q: What should I expect after I submit my application?
A: Applications will be reviewed by staff for eligibility and completeness as they are received. Eligible applicants will be notified via email, confirming receipt of the application and all supporting documents, and whether or not the application is considered complete.
If the application is not completed in its entirety and/or documentation is missing, staff will notify the applicant via email and require the missing information to be submitted within a specific period of time, and application will not processed until such time as it is completed. If the application is not completed within the timeframe provided, the application will not be processed.

Q: When does the application process end?
A: The application process, and opportunity to provide all supporting documents, is scheduled to close on Friday, October 30, 2020 at 5:00 PM. Osceola County Government will evaluate the application process periodically to determine whether it will temporarily close, reopen and/or extend.

Q: What are the eligibility criteria?
A: Applicants must meet the following criteria to be considered for the Osceola County Emergency Economic Relief Grant Program:

  • Locally owned and independently operated, including Non-profit entities and Home-based businesses physically located in Osceola County, including businesses within city limits of Kissimmee and St. Cloud.
  • Independently owned and operated franchises (not corporate owned stores) are eligible.
  • Business must be at least 51% owned by a Florida resident in accordance with CARES Act guidelines.
  • Priority will be given to businesses that did not receive PPP or other emergency funding or loans. However, receiving PPP or other loans does not disqualify applicants.
  • Owners of multiple businesses, all independent of each other, can apply for one grant per business.
  • Owners of a business that has multiple locations, including owners of multiple short-term rental units, must aggregate (bundle) expenses of all locations up to the maximum grant amount allowable.
  • Owners of multiple businesses sharing employees, or registered under the same business address, must aggregate (bundle) expenses of all businesses, up to the maximum grant amount allowable.
  • Home-based business can be reimbursed up to 50% of residential mortgage payment, covering mortgage payments from March to September.
  • Applicants must complete the Economic Damage Assessment Survey (https://floridadisaster.biz/businessdamageassessments)
  • Applicants must register the business through We’ve Opened Safely website (https://www.weveopenedsafely.com/), and commit to adhere to safety best practices.
  • Applicants must be current on all County taxes, assessments and fees;
  • Applicants must have no outstanding Code Enforcement violations.

Q: What type of expenses are eligible for reimbursement?
A: To receive funding through this program, applicants must provide evidence of eligible expenses incurred during the period of March 1st and September 30th 2020, with the corresponding evidence of payment in order to apply for reimbursement.  Acceptable proof of payment includes: bank statement showing the payment, or front and back of cancelled checks.  Eligible uses include the following:

  • Commercial rent or mortgage payments
  • Utilities
  • Payroll
  • Investments in materials or equipment necessary for reopening or operating during social distancing mandates such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), barriers, etc..

Funds may not be utilized to pay bonuses, commissions, dividends or salary increases to owner(s) or investor(s).

Q: Do I have to identify which eligible expenses I want to be reimbursed for?
A: Yes. The expenses for which the applicant is seeking reimbursement must be listed in the application. Expenses not listed in the application, not eligible, or submitted without proof of payment, will not be considered. Acceptable proof of payment is bank statement showing the payment, or back and front copies of cancelled checks.

Q: How much should I apply for? Can I submit documentation to support a larger reimbursement than I am eligible for?
A: You should only apply for the amount you are eligible for, based on your type of operation and number of employees.  Submitting documentation beyond the amount you are eligible for will only slow down processing your application, and will not increase your chances of being awarded a grant.

Q: What documents do I need in order to apply?
A: Applications must include the following documentation (all that apply):

  • Completed Application Form;
  • Current Osceola County’s Business Tax Receipt;
  • State of Florida business registration from the Florida Division of Corporation (sunbiz.org) noting an “ACTIVE” status;
  • Current W-9;
  • Business W-3 or IRS 941 form, or other documentation to support number of employees;
  • Supporting documentation for the expenses incurred (invoices) and proof of payment. Acceptable proof of payment includes: bank statement showing the payment, or front and back of cancelled checks.
  • The business must have been determined non-essential by Florida Governor’s Executive Order or provide a statement regarding how Covid-19 negatively impacted the businesses revenue/operations;
  • Documentation regarding other Federal and/or State funds received and proof that submitted expenses were not paid via these funds; and
  • Any other documentation deemed necessary by Osceola County to support the application for assistance through the Emergency Economic Relief Grant Program.

Q: Do I have to prove my business suffered economic injury because of Covid-19, and if yes, how can I do that?
A: To prove the business suffered economic injury the business must have been determined non-essential by Florida Governor’s Executive Order or provide a statement regarding how Covid-19 impacted the business.

Q: Where can I find my active state business registration?
A: Business owners can find the most recent filing for their active state business registration from the Florida Division of Corporations by searching the full, legal business name at www.sunbiz.org

Q: Which types of businesses may be prioritized?
A: Applications under this program will be processed in the order they are received while funds last. Priority in processing and/or disbursement may be given to owners that have not received Federal and/or State dollars in support of these initiatives and to owners that are also Osceola County residents.

Q: Can I submit outstanding invoices for rent, utilities and other expenses to be paid directly by Osceola County?
A: No. This grant is provided on a reimbursement basis. The applicant may request reimbursement of invoices for eligible expenses that have already been paid.  Proof of payment is required in order to receive reimbursement up to the maximum grant amount, based on the type of business.

Q: What if my application is incomplete?
A: Applications will not be processed if documents are missing or illegible. Eligible applicants will be notified via email, confirming receipt of the application and all supporting documents, and whether or not the application is considered complete.

If the application is not completed in its entirety and/or documentation is missing, staff will notify the applicant via email and require the missing information to be submitted within a specific period of time, and application will not processed until such time as it is completed. If the application is not completed within the timeframe provided, the application will not be processed.

Q: May I edit my documents after I submit my application?
A: Yes. If additional information was requested, you can send updated/additional documents to EconomicDevelopmentCARES@osceola.org within the timeframe provided.  Failure to do so will prevent processing of your application.

Q: How many businesses and not-for-profit organizations will Osceola County assist?
A: Osceola County will provide grants depending on funding availability, until funds allocated are depleted.

Q: Do I have to pay the money back?
A: No. This is a grant, not a loan, therefore repayment is not required unless funds are not used for eligible expenses. These grants may be considered taxable income, so please contact your financial advisor for guidance.

Q: Where is this money coming from?
A: Osceola County Economic Development is allocating funding received through the CARES Act towards an emergency grant program.

Q: What is the approval process?
A: Osceola County staff will evaluate the applicant’s documents for eligibility to make sure it is complete. Once completed, the application will be processed. Applicants will be notified by email as to whether their application has been approved or denied.

Q: Do we include contractors that are paid on a weekly basis in the count for Full-time employees as well?
A: Yes. 1099s can be counted as employees and submitted as proof of payment, provided the applicant includes copies of the 1099 forms, and the forms show the individual was paid by the applicant.

Q: We hired people before we had to be shut down and they did not get a chance to start, do we include them as well even though we did not get a chance to run payroll for them?
A: No. Only employees on active payroll should be counted.

Q: I want to use it towards payroll and possibly some PPE equipment but I am confused on how it works. Do I buy the items first?
A: As previously noted, this is a reimbursement grant meaning only paid expenses are eligible.  However, eligible expenses that were paid between March 1st and September 30th, 2020 can be used to justify the request, up to the maximum grant amount based on entity type.

Q: Our business was never closed, can we still apply for the grant?
A: Yes, if the criteria is met.

Q: Am I eligible to apply if I live in another County in Florida, but my business is located in Osceola County?
A: Yes, but priority may be given to owners that are also Osceola County residents.

Q: Am I eligible to apply if I am not a Florida resident, but my business is located in Osceola County?
A: No. Business must be at least 51% owned by a Florida resident in accordance with CARES Act guidelines.

Q: Why are Osceola business owners not eligible if they are overseas residents? Our businesses have been affected as badly as any.
A: We understand that there are many different ways that the pandemic has negatively impacted our County, and may have impacted your business as well. Unfortunately, in accordance with CARES Act guidelines, Non-Florida residents and foreign persons will not be eligible to receive funds through the CARES Act program.

Q: Who can I contact if I have questions not answered in this FAQ?
A: You can send us an email at EconomicDevelopmentCARES@osceola.org for more information or questions regarding the Osceola County Emergency Economic Relief Grant Program

Q. What if I do not have adequate documentation to prove the number of employees I claim in my application?
A. Applications without adequate proof of the number of employees will be processed as a one-employee operation, eligible for a maximum $5,000 grant, provided the other program criteria is met.

Q. Am I eligible if I received PPP or EIDL Advance?
A. Yes. Applicants that received PPP/EIDL funds are eligible, but are required to provide Bank Statement or other acceptable evidence of the date and amount of PPP or other Federal Funding disbursement, and confirm the expenses presented with your grant application for reimbursement were NOT covered with PPP or other Federal Funding.