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Economy

The Oklahoma Business Relief Program

The Oklahoma Business Relief Program (OBRP) was developed with CARES Act funds to help local small businesses across the state overcome the economic challenges of COVID-19. The program was announced on June 27, and since being established, it has offered vital funding for businesses that have suffered revenue loss due to the pandemic. In total, more than 9,000 Oklahoma businesses submitted applications for the $145 million in CARES Act funding. For more information on the program, please visit the Oklahoma Commerce Department’s website by clicking here
  • Success metrics for Phase 1 of the OBRP program can be found here.
  • Success metrics for Phase 2 of the OBRP program can be found here.
  • Announcement on Phase 3 of the OBRP program can be found here
  • The list of businesses that have received OBRP grants can be found here

Food Supply Chain Stability

Utilizing $10 million in CRF, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) is administering economic grants to existing or new meat processing businesses, that are not publicly traded, for the purpose of adding meat processing capacity in Oklahoma. With renewed emphasis on human health risks and necessary precautions to limit exposure in these types of facilities has come a recognition that changes within existing facilities as well as more plants and larger plants would greatly help mitigate the effects on the food supply chain when some facilities are compromised. In order to reduce Oklahoma’s dependence on the current limited processors and lessen the risk of consequences of a facility shutting down (such as depopulation of healthy animals), it is pertinent for our state to bolster development of this industry through capital for new construction, expansion, and equipment to protect against spread of illness in current plants. For more information on these grants, or to apply for one, please visit ODAFF’s website by clicking here.

Eviction Mitigation Program

The State of Oklahoma committed $10 million in CRF to support non-profits that are helping Oklahoma families stay in their homes after being impacted economically by the presence of COVID-19. The CRF funding specifically reimburses the costs for non-profits to provide legal aid to intervene in eviction cases filed in county courts. To be eligible for reimbursement, the non-profit must submit to the State a tenant-landlord agreement with an Eviction Filing/Docket Number. Each reimbursement is capped at $3,600 in eviction mitigation per individual or per family.

Nonprofits that are receiving CARES Act reimbursement support and are directly assisting with eviction mitigation efforts include:

The State’s CRF funds for the Eviction Mitigation program have also been matched with financial support from the Schusterman Family Foundation and Inasmuch Foundation.

If you are a non-profit seeking CARES Act funding to support an already existing eviction mitigation program, please contact [email protected].

If you are seeking eviction mitigation assistance, please contact one of the non-profits listed above.  These non-profits can also be contacted about additional resources for rental assistance that are not included in the State’s Eviction Mitigation program.

Child Care Stabilization

Approximately $9.6 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) is being awarded to more than 2,200 childcare centers across Oklahoma to support the industry's efforts to deliver safe, essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) will deliver the one-time funds as Child Care Quality and Sustainability Payments to childcare providers who have maintained active status since March 15, 2020. Payment amounts will be tiered based on OKDHS's Reaching for the Stars Quality Rating and Improvement System program.

Childcare providers will not be required to submit an application. Payments will be disbursed to licensed providers automatically based on their Star rating and active status by September 15, 2020. Click here for more details.

HOPE Community Centers

Utilizing $15 million in CARES Act CRF, the State is launching 30 Community HOPE Centers to be stood up by the end of 2020 that will serve approximately 4,200 children and their adult caregivers. Community HOPE Centers will utilize community partnerships to provide critical services to families using the science of HOPE as their foundation. Each Community HOPE Center will have mental health professionals, Oklahoma Department of Human Services staff, virtual learning tools such as computers and iPads, meals and snacks, a weekend backpack program and other programming available to support families. 

The initial site will serve youth in the Capitol Hill area of Oklahoma City and will be operated by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County, with plans to expand to other areas of the Oklahoma City metro, Tulsa, and other communities around the state. More information is available by clicking here

Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Mainframe Upgrade

In 2019, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) was providing roughly $20.2 million a month on average in unemployment benefits to qualifying Oklahomans. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, this amount escalated quickly. From March 1 to July 31, OESC received 700,000 unemployment claims and distributed more than $2.4 billion in resources. The crisis exposed the agency’s legacy systems and the inability to process claims due to a mainframe that had not been upgraded since the 1970s. 

Governor Stitt committed $17 million in CARES Act funds to deliver a digital transformation to OESC for upgrading this mainframe system and modernize the infrastructure to ease and quicken the process of delivering critical unemployment funds while enhancing security to reduce fraud and protect Oklahomans’ personal information.