October 14th Information &
Resources Update
REMINDER: Energy & Sustainable Development Committee Forum with Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Mike Kennealy
TOMORROW, Thursday, October 15th, 2020
8:30 AM via Zoom
The Energy and Sustainable Development Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership invites you to a special forum featuring Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy.

A presentation from the Secretary focused on the Commonwealth's reopening from COVID-19 will be followed by a question and answer period.

This event will take place remotely via Zoom tomorrow, Thursday, October 15th at 8:30 AM. Click here to register.

The 495/MetroWest Partnership's Energy and Sustainable Development Committee focuses on issues related to land use, energy, brownfields remediation, low-impact development, broadband connectivity, placemaking, and environmental stewardship. The Committee is open to all interested participants.

About Secretary Kennealy:
In early 2015, Secretary Kennealy joined the Baker Administration as Assistant Secretary for Business Growth. As Assistant Secretary, he played an integral role in advancing the administration’s strategy for job creation and business development across the entire Commonwealth and provided leadership in key sectors, including serving as co-chair of the board of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. He began his career in private equity at TA Associates, a Boston-based firm. In 1997, he joined Spectrum Equity, a private equity firm founded in 1994 with offices in Boston and San Francisco. Secretary Kennealy received an A.B. in Government from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Baker Administration Announces Eviction Diversion Initiative as Eviction & Foreclosure Moratorium Set to Expire Saturday

From the Division of Local Services:

The Baker-Polito Administration announced a comprehensive set of resources, known as the Eviction Diversion Initiative, to support tenants and landlords during the financial challenges caused by the pandemic. The goal of this initiative is to keep tenants safely in their homes and to support the ongoing expenses of landlords once the Commonwealth’s pause of evictions and foreclosures expires on Saturday, October 17th.

  • The Administration is making a $171 million total commitment this fiscal year, with $112 million of new funding to support new and expanded housing stability programs during the remainder of the fiscal year, including: 

  • $100 million commitment this fiscal year to expand the capacity of the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program to provide relief to renters and landlords impacted by COVID-19

  • $48.7 million to HomeBASE and other rapid rehousing programs for when tenants are evicted and are at risk of homelessness

  • $12.3 million to provide tenants and landlords with access to legal representation and related services prior to and during the eviction process, as well as community mediation to help tenants and landlords resolve cases outside of court

  • $6.5 million for Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs), the “front door” for those facing a housing emergency

  • $3.8 million for the Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP), to provide case management support and to act as a neutral party to help tenants and landlords come to agreement.

In order to ensure tenants are aware of available resources, the Administration has kicked off a public information campaign, including a new option available to call the Massachusetts 2-1-1 information hotline, effective Tuesday, October 13th. Operators for 2-1-1 are trained to answer questions and connect residents to the agencies that administer RAFT and ERMA. An easier path to important information has also been launched on the state’s website: mass.gov/CovidHousingHelp
Mass. Life Sciences Center to Administer New $3.6 Million Accelerating Coronavirus Testing Solutions Program

Last week, the Commonwealth announced a new $3.6 million funding initiative to increase testing capacity and address gaps that currently exist in coronavirus testing. The Accelerating Coronavirus Testing Solutions (A.C.T.S.) Program, designed and administered by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), will fund projects focused on two core areas:
  1. Accelerating the development of at-home or point-of-care testing methods that are simpler and more rapid
  2. New and innovative solutions that address existing supply chain barriers

The MLSC’s Request for Proposals is open to for-profit companies and not-for-profit institutions; teams working on solutions that provide low-cost, surveillance testing technology that can be deployed independent of Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) or medical personnel are encouraged to apply.

The MLSC will accept applications on a rolling basis with evaluations taking place in two-week cycles. Applications for the first cycle will close on October 16th, 2020 at noon EST. Subsequent cycles will close every two weeks after that point.

While Massachusetts has had a number of successes in supporting manufacturing through the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (M-ERT), this program seeks to further refine the focus on remaining supply chain bottlenecks. From identifying ways to increase manufacturing capacity, to the development of specialized materials, this program will support critical areas of need to allow labs across the Commonwealth to fully utilize and leverage their existing high throughput testing platforms.

An application should provide solutions that significantly increase testing capacity, and may address a well-defined issue beyond an identified priority area, but must articulate the positive impact on coronavirus testing. The MLSC, with assistance from an advisory panel, will evaluate proposals based on:
  • An effort’s ability to address and execute in a defined priority area
  • Time to patient and/or implementation success
  • Ability to leverage additional resources (e.g. funding, supplies, equipment) of the Massachusetts life sciences industry cluster
  • Probability of scaling in Massachusetts
  • Potential to drive economic development and contribute to larger ecosystem in the Commonwealth

Click here to access general program information. To access the application portal, click here.
Small Business Administration & Treasury Release Simpler PPP Forgiveness Process for Loans of $50,000 or Less

The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, has released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action is intended to streamline the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to small businesses.

SBA and Treasury have also eased the burden on PPP lenders, allowing lenders to process forgiveness applications more swiftly.  

SBA began approving PPP forgiveness applications and remitting forgiveness payments to PPP lenders for PPP borrowers on October 2nd, 2020. SBA will continue to process all PPP forgiveness applications in an expeditious manner.

MetroWest Employer Town Hall Series:
Special Edition Employer Focus Group **TODAY**

Area employers are invited to join the 495/MetroWest Partnership and the MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board for our continuing discussions, occurring every other week, surrounding critical issues business are facing. We will answer questions about the various resources that are available to companies and their workers during these difficult times.

Please join us for a special session of our Employer Town Hall series this afternoon, Wednesday, October 14th at 1:00 PM as we host a focus group, Navigating Workforce Wellness and Productivity During COVID, to hear from employers about the challenges they're facing in a new workplace environment under the current pandemic. We also want to hear about strategies that businesses are putting in place during these challenging times. Click here to sign up.

Hosts Jason Palitsch (Executive Director, 495/Metro West Partnership) and Greg Bunn (Executive Director, MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board) will be accompanied by Kelly Joseph, Community Health Manager from the Framingham Department of Public Health and Katie Sugarman, Prevention & Outreach Program Manager from the Natick Health Department.

This in an important opportunity to have your voice heard and help determine how public resources are used to help the business community support its workforce and foster productivity as we move forward. Click here to register!
Upcoming 495/MetroWest Partnership Events

MetroWest Employer Town Hall Series Special Event: Navigating Workforce Wellness and Productivity During COVID
Wednesday, October 14th, 1:00 PM via Zoom
  • Greg Bunn, Executive Director, MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board
  • Kelly Joseph, Community Health Manager, Framingham Department of Public Health
  • Katie Sugarman, Prevention & Outreach Program Manager, Natick Health Department
  • Jason Palitsch, Executive Director, 495/Metro West Partnership

Energy & Sustainable Development Committee Forum on the Commonwealth's Reopening from COVID-19 with Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Mike Kennealy
Thursday, October 15th, 8:30 AM via Zoom
  • Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Mike Kennealy

New PFAS Drinking Water Standard: Presentation and Q&A with MassDEP
Wednesday, October 21st, 8:30 AM via Zoom
  • Kathleen M. Baskin, P.E., Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Water Resources
  • Damon Guterman, Senior Analyst, Drinking Water Program

EPA Presentation and Q&A: Potential New Stormwater Requirement for the Charles River Watershed
Tuesday, October 27th, 8:30 AM via Zoom
  • Ken Moraff, Water Director
  • Newton Tedder, Senior Permit Writer
  • Erin Flannery-Keith, Attorney-Advisor, Office of Regional Counsel 
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you. You may reach me directly via email at [email protected].

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership