Skip Navigation Download Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view .pdf files.
Freedom First Credit Union

Small Business Relief Grant

Branded Star Mark
Branded Star Mark

Supporting Local Microbusinesses

ln response to the economic hardships experienced by businesses resulting from the COVlD-19 pandemic, the City of Roanoke in partnership with Freedom First is launching a small business relief grant program utilizing Community Development Block Grant - Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) federal funding.

lt is a grant program created in response to microbusinesses that are at-risk of closing or laying off employees due to COVID-19, and its goal is to keep businesses open and retain or create jobs.


  • Business must be located in the City of Roanoke
  • At-home business must have 2-year history in home
  • Owner/applicant is a qualified Low or Moderate Income household1
  • Owner is 18 years or older
  • Owner/Applicant is not currently in bankruptcy
  • Owner must be current on all city taxes
  • Has not already received prior CARES Act funding
  • Business will have active liability insurance with in 30 days
  • Owner/applicant is only eligible for one grant per rolling 12 months
  • CDBG-CV funds may not be used to duplicate other federal or state benefits
  • Provides local or regional services, including those in the program's areas of emphasis:
    • restaurants/food service, professional services (i.e. legal, design, real estate),
    • cultural & educational services,
    • arts,
    • recreation,
    • retail,
    • health practitioners, and
    • personal care (i.e. beauty/barbershop, nail salon, dry cleaner and more).

Microenterprise Assistance

  • Five or fewer full-time employees including themselves
  • Business must be owned at least 51% by an individual with a household income at or below 80% or the Area Median Income1
  • Must be able to demonstrate the impact that COVID -19 has had on their business
  • Must be able to demonstrate the business will remain in operation after receiving the grant
  • Must be able to commit to retaining, at a minimum, their current level of employees at the time of receiving the grant

Special Economic Development Activities

  • This means jobs made available to low/moderate income persons1 are created or retained
  • If a business applicant has laid off some or all employees, but reports they intend to hire once this crisis ends - this can be job retention

Ineligible Applicants

Nonprofit organizations are not eligible, and will not be considered for funding. Other ineligible businesses include payday loan businesses, liquor and tobacco stores, pawn shops, firearm or other weapons dealers, adult entertainment (any business that requires the customer to be at least 18 years of age or older), passive real estate investments, or home-based businesses operating without appropriate zoning and/or permits.

Grant Amount

  • Minimum: $5,000
  • Maximum: $25,000 (Max $10,000 for retooling and technology activities related to COVID)

Eligible Use of Funds

The City of Roanoke's Planning, Building & Development Department HUD Community Resources Division and Freedom First will review the final project scope of work submitted in the application.

Grants are restricted to certain eligible costs, especially those related to basic operating capital for leasing space, insurance and/or utilities, and staff salaries. Applicant will provide documentation as to how the funds were spent within a 60-day period. All request must demonstrate need to retain or create jobs.

  • Reasonable business costs
  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Salaries
  • Inventory
  • Training for long-term sustainability
  • Business modeling for modified business planning
  • Cost to comply with COVID related CDC standards:
    • Space and technology upgrades to reopen and conduct business safely, including furniture, barriers, and technology such as, software, and touch -free credit card payment systems to accommodate social distancing.
    • Sanitization (cleaning service and/or supplies such as EPA approved disinfectants, gloves, and masks that follow CDC and Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 guidance
    • Job training , classes and/or technical assistance related to COVID training to protect employees and customers
    • Training for long-term sustainability planning

Ineligible Use of Funds

In addition to CDBG-ineligible costs outlined in 24 CFR 570, funds under this Program may not be used to:

  • Reimburse expenses incurred prior to Applicant approval of grant
  • Pay off non-business debt, such as personal credit cards for purchases not associated with the business
  • Purchase personal items such as buying a new family car or making repairs to a participant's home
  • Direct funding to political activities
  • Paying off taxes and fines
  • Acquisition of real estate
  • New Construction

Applicant Capacity

Grant applicants for the Relief Program are required to demonstrate management capacity and ability to successfully operate a business.

Job Retention/Creation

For the Relief Program, priority will be given to applicants that commit to retaining employees or creating jobs. Unless a business applicant's owner is a member of a low-/ moderate-income household1 and the business qualifies as a HUD-defined microenterprise, then retention or creation of at least one job held by a
low-/ moderate-income household1 is required to access funds in this program.

Job retention is defined as total full-time equivalent positions retained at 40 hours per week, or any combination of part-time positions combining for 40 hours per week, including owners.

Application Documents

Applications should be submitted by email in full to by 4 pm on June 1, 2022 or until funds are exhausted. Staff will follow up with applicants for required additional information and documents after application submission, including income self-certification forms for all employees.

City of Roanoke CDBG-CV Microbusiness Relief Grant FAQs

Q: Who is eligible to apply for City of Roanoke CDBG-CV Microbusiness Relief Grant?

A: Assistance through the City of Roanoke requires the business must meet these minimum requirements:

1. The business must be owned at least 51% by an individual with a household income at or below 80% or the Area Median Income for Roanoke City.
2. The business must have five or fewer employees including the Business Applicant.
3. The business must hold a business license in the City of Roanoke.
Q: How is it determined if individuals or families meet the low- and moderate-income eligibility requirements?

A: An individual is considered low- and moderate-income (LMI) based on their annual family income. To be classified as LMI, an individual or family’s total annual income must be equal to or below 80% of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) area median income for the county or metropolitan area where they reside.

Number of Family Members in Household  Annual Income
1 $42,950 or less
2 $49,100 or less
3 $55,250 or less
4 $61,350 or less
5 $66,300 or less
6 $71,200 or less
7 $76,100 or less
8 $81,00 or less

Q: What is the Eligible Use of Funds?

A: Grants are restricted to certain eligible costs, especially those related to basic operating capital for leasing space, insurance and/or utilities, and staff salaries. Funds have to be spent within a 60-day period, but they can also only cover what is needed for that 60-day period based on historical spending patterns. Some pre-pay expenses may be eligible.
Q: What is a duplication of benefits?

A: A duplication of benefits occurs when a person, household, business, or other entity receives financial assistance from multiple sources for the same purpose, and the total assistance received for that purpose is more than the total need for assistance. This means that grantees may not use CDBG-CV funds for costs already fully covered by other programs.
Q: The CARES Act says grantees may reimburse for Coronavirus preparation, response, and prevention costs. How will that work?

A: The CARES Act provides that CDBG-CV funds may be used to cover or reimburse allowable cost of activities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to Coronavirus. This could cover the cost of PPE for employees, safety modifications to the business space, and other similar costs incurred that directly enable the business to operate safely.
Q: Can I save my progress in the online application?

A: At this time, the info you put into the online application can’t be saved should you exit the page. Be sure to plan ahead with a timeframe long enough to complete the application in full. We recommend reviewing the program guidelines and the application before you begin to fill out the fields and gathering all the information and documents you’ll need to submit a complete application.
Q: How long will these funds be available to use?

A: Funding will be available through June 1, 2022 or until all funding has been exhausted. Funding will be awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis to qualified businesses when a complete application and supporting documentation has been received.

Q: I’m not provided enough space in the application to answer a question. What do I do?

A: If you need more room to answer a question, you can write “Please see document titled [Title] for full response’ and attach a document containing your full answer. For any further clarification, feel free to reach out to
Q: Can grant funds be used to reimburse past expenses related to the proposed activity/project?

A: No, reimbursement for expenses incurred prior to being awarded this grant cannot be reimbursed.
Q: Does having tax liability in arrears with the Virginia Department of Taxation or IRS disqualify a business from receiving CDBG-CV funds?
A: Yes, it is a question on the application form.
Q: If someone runs a business out of their home what percentage of utilities can be claimed?

A: Whatever they would claim on taxes as expenses are eligible to be claimed under this grant.
Q: Is this funding usable for repairs or structural development that has not yet happened?

A: No, this is not eligible under CDBG-CV.
Q: What type of justification, bill or invoice needs to be submitted for self-labor to clean/disinfect a facility?

A: Invoice for materials is acceptable.
Q: Does a business need to have a DUNS number to benefit from CDBG-CV funds?

A: Yes, they are required to have a DUNS in order to submit an application and receive funds.
Q: What if I have additional questions regarding the application process?

A: Questions should be emailed to

View a full listing of our Products and Services:

Looking for a phone number, address, or other basic info?

1 Assistance through the City of Roanoke requires the Business must be owned at least 51% by an individual with a household income at or below 80% or the Area Median Income for Roanoke City. Income guidelines are based on how the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) calculates the Area Median Income (AMI) of the City. A household is composed of one or more people who occupy a housing unit. Not all households contain families. Under the U.S. Census Bureau definition, family households consist of two or more individuals who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption, although they also may include other unrelated people.

Persons in HH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Income Limit $42,950
$49,100 $55,250 $61,350 $66,300 $71,200 $76,100 $81,000
Read more on our accessibility statement