COVID-19 Resources and Information
During the coming weeks and months, the Southwestern Commission will be working to ensure that our communities have access to the most up-to-date information on the response to COVID-19 from the local, state, and federal government, non-profits, and foundations. This will be a difficult time for everyone, and our communities will suffer from the negative social and economic impact. Our organization is poised to assist in recovery efforts.

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.
COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program for Small Businesses Announced
The Golden LEAF Foundation announces $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program in response to economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Golden LEAF funding will support the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program by enabling loans to be made to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program is managed by the NC Rural Center, a statewide nonprofit that has been supporting small business owners for more than 30 years. The Rural Center will lead a broad coalition of nonprofit lending partners to directly assist small business owners. Participating Rapid Recovery organizations include Business Expansion Funding Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Natural Capital Investment Fund, and Thread Capital.

How to File for Unemployment Insurance in North Carolina
Please share this link with everyone you know who has been laid off as a result of this crisis.

More information on Unemployment Resources.
Personal Protective Equipment Production
If you know of a business that is interested in pivoting production to a needed medical product, please have them follow the guidelines below:

Companies who want to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)- Visit this site and click on “We will help produce PPE”
Medical providers who need PPE- Go this site and click on “We need PPE” 

NC State University and IES is compiling data on companies that can produce medical PPE. For companies that would like to begin producing PPE or are already producing PPE please see this link.
Resources for Small Businesses

The Small Business Administration’s Administrator, Jovita Carranza, announced automatic deferments through December 31, 2020 for borrowers still paying back SBA loans from previous disasters. For more information please see the press release.

Business Link North Carolina - if your business wants to be informed of future resources available for small businesses please call 800.228.8443 to register your interest. . BLNC may be experiencing a higher-than-normal call volume, and callers may be asked to leave a message. 
Efforts to Compile a List of Employers that Are Hiring
Josh Carpenter from the Economic Development Partnership of NC (EDPNC) has compiling a list of employers that would be willing to hire workers that are displaced by COVID19. There have been some companies that have made hiring announcements nationally:

If you know of companies that are hiring please let me Josh Carpenter know. He will be coordinating with NCWorks and other partners to compile this list of employers.
NC DHHS Update 3/25
Information for Older Adults
All Congregate/Nutrition centers across the region are closed for at least the rest of this week. The situation will be reassessed at that time. Take-out options as well as home-delivered options vary per county. Senior center staff are making safety checks to older adults on a regular basis. 

If you are in need of assistance, please call your local senior center for information or the Area Agency on Aging at (828)586-1962 x220.

Cherokee County - (828) 837-2467
Clay County - (828) 389-9271
Graham County - (828) 479-7977
Haywood County - (828) 356-2800
Jackson - (828) 586-5494
Macon - (828) 349-2058
Swain - (828) 488-3047
EBCI - (828) 497-4471
Mountain Projects - (828) 452-1447 or (828) 356 2800

Jackson County Department on Aging is collecting items from members of the community in order to make safety bags to deliver to home bound seniors in need.

The national Disaster Distress Helpline 24/7/365 crisis counseling & emotional support continues to be available for anyone experiencing distress or other mental health concerns during the ongoing COVID-19 infectious disease outbreak. Call 1-800-985-5990 (press "2" for Spanish) or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to access this service.

The North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry is offering a “Hope Line” to provide a friendly ear to older adults experiencing social distancing, social isolation, or loneliness. Call 866.578.HOPE (866.578.4673).
Resources for Long-Term Care Facilities (from Dogwood Health Trust)
Miscellaneous Resources
Additional Opportunities for Emergency Funding
3/17/2020 Information on Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act
NC Emergency Management Essential Industry List Guidance
NC Emergency Management has a process to vet businesses and allow them the ability to move employees IF an emergency or shelter in place order should be put into place. The steps for a business to follow are:
  • Email
  • In the email, provide the following:
  • Business name
  • Point of Contact including:
  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Nature of their business and why they are critical to continue operations
  • Business website
Vaya Health Call Center Remains Available
Vaya Health’s 24/7 Access to Care Line remains available to western North Carolina residents
experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis while the agency responds to the novel coronavirus.

For specific physical health questions or concerns, please continue to call your primary healthcare
provider or public health department.

Anyone with a behavioral health crisis can call 1-800-849-6127, toll-free, day or night, for help from
trained professionals. Call center staff are also available to provide information about local mental
health, substance use, and intellectual/developmental disability (IDD) services, as well as answer
member questions.

Visit the website for more.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Update
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved a blanket 1135 waiver for several states, including North Carolina.

These waivers, which were announced March 23 during a White House conference call with the governors, provide relief on a number of fronts, such as prior authorization and provider enrollment requirements, suspending certain nursing home pre-admission reviews, and facilitating reimbursement to providers for care delivered in alternative settings due to facility evacuations.  

Click HERE for more.
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