Through a countywide collaboration, Hays County has launched the Emergency Cash Assistance Program grant fund, which is designed to aid small businesses amid the ongoing global COVID-19 crisis.

The program will allocate $600,000 in grants to qualifying local businesses in Hays County, according to a July 31 press release.

ECAP was initiated by the Hays County Commissioners Court, but it is a collaboration between the county, the city of Kyle, PeopleFund and the Greater San Marcos Partnership.

The financial relief program will provide local businesses with up to $10,000 in grant funds on a first-come, first-served basis.

Funds will be allocated to local businesses that were unable to secure assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“Hays County led this effort, recognizing that some small businesses were not able to access any of the federal assistance programs,” GSMP President Jason Giulietti said. “The ECAP fund will provide much-needed relief to members of our business community that are essential to our region’s economy and recovery.”

Local businesses will be awarded on the basis of $1,000 per qualifying employee up to a maximum of $10,000.

Grant funds may be used for working capital, including rent, preexisting mortgage and utilities; or inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery, equipment, maintenance or repairs. Grants may also be used for payroll or employment benefits for qualifying employees.

The county provided $500,000 to fund ECAP and the city of Kyle contributed $100,000. The funds of the program may grow if any additional funding is contributed.

Applications for the grant program are available for review, but applications cannot be submitted until Aug. 10. In addition, applications for the program will close once all funds have been awarded or by Dec. 31, whichever comes first. The PeopleFund, a nonprofit community lender, will manage the application process.

To access an application, click here.

Editor's note: The submission date for the Emergency Cash Assistance Program application has been updated since this story was originally published.