Businesses, workers affected by Port of Baltimore closure have two new relief programs

26 April 2024- The Washington County Department of Business and Economic Development is pleased to share important updates from the State of Maryland. “Governor Moore has introduced two new economic relief programs aimed at aiding workers and businesses impacted by the recent Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse,” stated Jonathan Horowitz of the Department of Business and Economic Development. 

“These programs, established through Governor Moore’s executive order signed on April 5, 2024, are now active, offering temporary assistance to affected businesses in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Labor, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and Maryland Department of Commerce.”

In a recent press release, Governor Moore stated “We are dedicated to aiding everyone affected by the economic aftermath of the bridge collapse, from workers to entrepreneurs. These relief efforts serve as a crucial support system for those touched by this tragedy.  By working together, we aim to provide stability, assurance, and assistance to Marylanders navigating through these challenges.”

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is rolling out the $5M Neighborhood Business Works Small Business Grant Program, providing grants of up to $50,000, along with a $10M no-interest loan program offering loans of up to $500,000.  Eligibility details and program information are accessible on the department’s website, with applications processed on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The Port of Baltimore Emergency Business Assistance Program, spearheaded by the Maryland Department of Commerce, is poised to allocate $15M in grants to businesses affected by operational disruptions or shipment delays at the Port of Baltimore.  Eligibility for these grants hinges on businesses demonstrating economic and financial setback, evidenced by a decline in revenue and activity, or escalated operational expenses.  Grants, capped at $100,000 will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The Maryland Department of Labor previously initiated applications for its $12.5M Port of Baltimore Worker Retention Program, providing grants to affected businesses at risk of employee layoffs, and its $15M Port of Baltimore Worker Supporter Program, offering temporary financial aid to port workers who do not qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. 

For more information on eligibility and to apply for the Neighborhood Business Works Grant or loan programs, visit dhcd.maryland.gov/KeyBridgeResources

For details on eligibility and application for the Port of Baltimore Emergency Business Assistance Program, visit https://commerce.maryland.gov/fund/port-of-baltimore-emergency-business-assistance-program

For a comprehensive overview of all Port Act temporary relief programs and resources, please visit the Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse Response Website.

For a comprehensive list of available resources and assistance programs for Washington County businesses and workers affected by the bridge collapse, please contact Linda Spence, Business Specialist for the Washington County Department of Business and Economic Development at LSpence@WashCo-MD.net.