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Commercial District Recovery Guide

Historically underinvested communities across urban and rural America are facing enormous economic challenges from the fallout of COVID-19. Small businesses, many who have had to shut down temporarily,are at serious risk of closing permanently. These enterprises are the lifeblood of communities, providing critical goods and services as well as jobs to locals. To ensure that economic recovery is inclusive in the COVID-19 era, we created the LISC Commercial District Recovery Guide to support the trusted partners that neighborhood businesses turn to in challenging times. 

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About this Guide

When disaster strikes, local governments, businesses and place-based organizations are frequently the first line of response. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. The scope and nature of this disaster have created great need for local organizations to highlight collective concerns of small businesses, expand partnerships with the public and private sectors, and to serve as a voice for businesses during recovery. The LISC Commercial District Recovery Guide will provide place-based organizations and mission-driven intermediary partners focused on community economic development, including Chambers of Commerce, Merchants Associations, Main Street programs, Business Improvement Districts and other non-profit groups, with a curated roadmap for action to support COVID-19 recovery efforts. The guide offers a range of actionable strategies, complemented by best practices from communities across the country, that help address the needs of businesses during both immediate response in the aftermath of the pandemic and during recovery as the nation begins to emerge from social distancing measures and business closure.

Organizational Shift During an Emergency 

Over the last 40 years, LISC has mobilized to help hundreds of communities across the country respond to a variety of crises – from environmental disasters to economic downturns and financial shocks. Now we turn our efforts to help the organizations we serve meet the unique needs of businesses during a pandemic that has caused unprecedented and forced closures of businesses across the nation. In our experience, placebased and community organizations are among the most critical partners in emergency management. They are often the face of resource allocation and technical assistance — the first place that residents and businesses turn to when they are in need.

Organizations focused on community economic development too often find themselves at the forefront of recovery efforts, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different. In recent weeks, LISC and its partners on the ground have found ways to pivot resources and funding toward supporting the small business ecosystem that many of our communities rely on.

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