COVID-19 Resources and Information
Below you will find a comprehensive list of resources pertaining to the COVID-19 response. This guide will be updated regularly-- please check our website and Facebook page for updates.
Who Is Hiring in Our Region?
The Southwestern Commission's Workforce Development Department has compiled a list of businesses that are hiring in Southwestern North Carolina. This list will be updated regularly, so visit the link below to see any changes.

Rapid Recovery Program
In response to the unique economic challenges of COVID-19, a consortium of public, private, and nonprofit partners have come together and launched an innovative recovery-lending program to help support entrepreneurs and stabilize North Carolina’s small business sector, known as NC's Rapid Recovery Program .

Small businesses can access the application and more information by visiting the NC's Rapid Recovery Program website.
Interactive Map of Wifi Hotspots in the Region
The Southwestern Commission has collected and mapped all free public wireless internet hotspot locations throughout the region. The interactive map below can be used to find the address and other pertinent information for each location.

If you know of any other hotspots that are free to the public, please send any information to Becca Scott ( becca@regiona.org ).

Additional Resources for Businesses and Nonprofits in Western North Carolina

The Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) is an excellent resource for small businesses.
US Economic Development Administration and Other Resources Available
The US Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced several new resources that are available. These resources as well as several other relevant resources are listed below (thanks to Hillary Sherman with the US EDA for providing this information):


Click HERE to learn more.
Nantahala Health Foundation Launches COVID-19 Impact Recovery Fund Campaign
Nantahala Health Foundation (NHF) has announced that it is launching the COVID-19 Impact Recovery Fund campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to match charitable donations dollar for dollar up to $100,000 in order to prepare for a post-COVID future.

In a press release, NHF writes, "The immediate threat has always been that the virus would spread and create pressures on our communities’ limited healthcare systems. Beyond that, however, we anticipate dramatic short- and long-term effects on our region’s education systems, workforce and local economies. By growing our resources and matching donations from the public, we will be better equipped to respond quickly and sustain that response over the duration of the recovery."

US Small Business Administration Loan Programs
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.


The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork.


Click HERE for a great overview of SBA programs from the Small Business and Technology Development Center.
Dogwood Health Trust Lists New Opportunities to Use Their Leverage Fund
For the past few months, Dogwood Health Trust has compiled a very thorough list of funding streams that are available for nonprofits and local governments. This effort is a part of their Leverage Fund, which was established to assist with the grant writing process for these funding streams.

This month, they have put together a list of all available COVID-19 funding resources, including information about applying for FEMA funding . Please reach out to Dogwood Health Trust if you think your organization is a good match for one of these opportunities.
The 2020 US Census Could Have Significant Financial Impact on Our Region-- Encourage Others to Respond!
The 2020 US Census is in full swing, and this is a really important opportunity for our region to be counted and represented. For example, each Western North Carolinian who responds to the 2020 Census will bring the equivalent of $1,623 federal dollars per year, for 10 years, to the region.

Information about Unemployment Benefits
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of Americans applying for unemployment insurance. In response, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidance to help states implement expanded unemployment benefits under the CARES Act.

Guidance on implementing the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program , which makes benefits available for self-employed workers, independent contractors, gig workers, and others who do not regularly qualify for unemployment assistance.
Guidance on Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation , under which states will administer an additional $600 weekly payment to eligible individuals.
Information from https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-nc-unemployment-insurance-information
Counties Create Resources for Local Businesses
Local entities are working to create and provide resources for businesses. For example, several counties have created resources to help local businesses by offering loan programs to those businesses and nonprofits who have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Haywood County has created the Haywood Recovery Fund, Jackson County has created the All in Jackson Fund , and Macon County has created the Reopening Macon Fund.
Information for Older Adults
Please call your local senior center for details on meal programs. Senior center staff continue to make well check calls to older adults on a regular basis.
Resources Specific to Local Governments
Southwestern Commission | Website