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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.

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.

Governor Stitt visits Guymon meat processing plant

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. So far, the program has helped over 2,600 Oklahoma families.

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

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 Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

HOPE Community Centers

Utilizing $15 million in CARES Act CRF, the State has launched 52 Community HOPE Centers in 2020 to serve over 2,900 children and their adult caregivers. Community HOPE Centers utilize community partnerships to provide critical services to families using the science of HOPE as their foundation. Each Community HOPE Center has 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 launched under the program serves youth in the Capitol Hill area of Oklahoma City and is operated by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County. More information is available by clicking here.

Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Mainframe Upgrade and Unemployment Trust Support

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.

$100 million in CARES Act funds was also allocated to support the Unemployment Trust Fund. The funding will allow the agency to replenish the UI Trust Fund, which will prevent the fund from breaching the $25M threshold which would trigger an immediate surcharge for employers.

Protect Transit

Public transit systems provide transportation for the general public and Oklahoma’s most economically challenged and vulnerable populations to help meet work, medical and day-to-day needs.

In response to COVID-19, Oklahoma’s transit systems faced an immediate need to increase the protections of both its operators and its ridership in order to address the safety and welfare of the public.

The Oklahoma State Department of Transportation was provided $6 million to launch the Protect Transit Program. The program provides PPE, bus shields, cashless payment systems and vehicle decontamination machines to ensure safety needs are met on Oklahoma’s 32 transit systems statewide, with a priority focus on uniquely challenged rural transit operations, and an additional group of 5,310 recipients who provide rides for the elderly and physically challenged.

Oklahoma Arts and Cultural Industry Relief Grants

Administered by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the Oklahoma Arts and Cultural Industry Relief Grants program aims to restore lost jobs and support operations in the arts and cultural nonprofit sector at a time of economic crisis.

One-time grants ranging from $2,500 to $100,000 are available through the $3 million program to support nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, museums, historical societies, colleges and universities, public libraries, tribal nations, and departments of city and county government that present arts programming across the state.

Food Bank Replenishment

Since COVID-19 was first confirmed in Oklahoma, the state’s non-profit organizations have seen a significant increase in demand for their services. The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma reports a 35% increase in product being distributed and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma reports a 16% or 720,000 pound per month increase.

This $6 million investment in our food supply infrastructure was divided between the RFBO and CFBEO to help ensure these programs can continue to provide access to healthy options for Oklahomans with limited resources.

Tourism Re-Marketing

To mitigate the negative financial effects of COVID-19 to local businesses, this project uses $2 million in CRF to support Oklahoma retail, restaurants and hospitality businesses across the state through a regional advertising campaign featuring Governor Stitt encouraging travel to Oklahoma.

The ad campaign includes TV commercials, digital ads and social media ads and is currently running in Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri until Dec. 30, 2020.

Safer State Welcome Centers

Using $18 million in CRF, the Safer State Welcome Centers project aims to create a safer experience for travelers by implementing updates to Oklahoma’s welcome centers to accommodate social distancing and sanitation guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control.

Updates include touchless entry points, touchless bathroom amenities, counter barriers to protect staff, and revised layouts to allow visitors to socially distance while still enjoying the features and amenities at each Center.

The Tourism Information Centers also serve as a key resource for area attractions, and some improvements are being made to help bolster the travel and hospitality industry, which has suffered significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oklahoma Ambulance Association

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, primary care physicians, pediatricians, and school-based service providers continue to be “first-point-of-contact” individuals. Under normal daily circumstances, these providers encounter persons who are experiencing depression, anxiety, and situational stress. Because of the pandemic, a large number of Oklahomans are experiencing additional personal crises such as financial instability, isolation from support systems and loved ones, disruptions to daily routines, and extreme conditions of change which exacerbate existing behavioral health issues.

Utilizing $1 million in CRF, the Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) will distribute grants to support front-line healthcare workers with training on evidence-based screenings leveraging technology and to make consultation services more easily available for identifying behavioral health treatments or referrals.

Last Modified on Jun 06, 2024
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