Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Business Owner Assistance Program
  2. Small Business Relief Grant Program
  3. Homegrown Harford Relief Grant Program
  4. Payment Forms FAQs

Harford County Government, under the Glassman Administration and the Office of Community & Economic Development, is providing a COVID-19 Business Owners Assistance Grant Program – administering federal CARES Act funds established to help business owners impacted by the recent pandemic cover the cost of commercial business mortgage, lease, or rent payments.

Does my business qualify?
  • Must be located in Harford County; 
  • Must own, rent, or lease a commercial business establishment for operation of the business (no residential home-based businesses); 
  • Must have been in operation prior to March 9, 2020;  
  • Must be in good standing with Harford County Government, and registered with the state, if required to do so by law, as of March 9, 2020; and 
  • May not currently be in default on any loans from Harford County or delinquent on any taxes, fees, or other charges owed to Harford County.

What can I use the funding for?  
Commercial business mortgage, commercial business location lease or rent.


What can I NOT use the funding for?
Anything other than commercial business mortgage, commercial business location lease or rent.

Can the grant be applied to rental or mortgage payments from before the receipt of funds?
Funds must be solely utilized for expenditures that occur between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020 and be used exclusively for commercial business mortgage, rental or lease payments.

How can I access the required application documents?
Click the links below to access all the required documentation:

When can I submit the application?
You can email the application and all required documents to businessownerassistance@harfordcountymd.gov starting on June 10, 2020 at 8:00 a.m.  All forms must be typed except for where legal signatures are required.


Will an electronic or typed signature be accepted on the application, W-9, or Direct Deposit/EFT Form?
No. A physical signature is needed on all forms. 

Can I receive other Harford County grants?
No. Business owners may only receive one COVID-19 Business Relief Grant from Harford County Government.

What if I applied for the Small Business Relief Grant and was told I was ineligible. Can I still apply for the Business Owners Assistance Program?
If you applied for the Small Business Relief Grant and were deemed ineligible because your business did not meet criteria for eligibility, you may still be eligible for the Business Owners Assistance Program and are encouraged to apply.

What happens if I submit my application before June 10 at 8 a.m.?
Applications and required documents WILL NOT be accepted prior to 8 a.m. on June 10, 2020. Any attempted email submission before 8 a.m. on June 10 will not be held in a queue and must be resubmitted for consideration.

How many employees do I need to have in order to qualify for this grant?
There is no employment requirement associated with this grant.

Can I apply if I don’t have any employees, only 1099 (contractual) agreements?
Yes. This grant is for business owners to cover the cost of their business commercial mortgage, rent or lease. There is no employment requirement associated with this grant.

What documentation do I need to submit?
I need to resubmit my application. Do I need to resubmit everything, or just what needed correction?
Please resubmit your application with all the required paperwork, including that which needed to be corrected, to businessrelief@harfordcountymd.gov. Your re-submission will be reviewed in the order it was received.

Are sole proprietors eligible?

Yes. Sole proprietor businesses owners are eligible.

What if I submit an incomplete application? Will I keep my place in line?
If an incomplete application is received, the applicant will be notified of the issue regarding incompletion and asked to resubmit the fully-completed application with all documentation. The applicant’s place in the queue will not be saved as other completed applications will continue moving forward.

Can Non-Profits or Faith Based Organizations or Churches apply?
No.

I personally own the property and building where my business is located. Do I select 'lease' or 'own' on the application?
Regardless of who owns the building and property, if the business applying pays rent or has a lease agreement, then select "lease" on the application.   

If I have applied for other Federal and/or State COVID-19 related assistance, can I still apply for this grant?
Yes. As long as a business does not recover the same business impact twice, (i.e., using two different funding sources to cover mortgage payments, lease or rental within the same time frame).

When will I receive my grant funds?
Applications will be processed and funded as quickly as possible.

How many businesses will be awarded funds?
Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and eligible businesses will be awarded grants until dedicated funds are expended.

Is there a physical address where I can mail or drop off my application?
No. Applications will only be accepted electronically. The applications and documentation must be submitted in one email to 
businessownersassistance@harfordcountymd.gov. An automated response will be generated, confirming receipt of the application.

How much is the grant award?
$5,000.00.

Is a franchise eligible for this grant?
Yes. The business will need to be located in Harford, meet the criteria, and expend the dollars in accordance with the grant. 

I own a parent company that operates multiple businesses or business locations throughout Harford County.  Can I apply for mortgage, rental or lease assistance for each location?
No.  A single business ownership entity is eligible for only one award.

I am the owner of a commercial building that currently has a mortgage and also own and operate a different business out of the same location.  Can I apply for both businesses?
If the ownership is the same for the commercial building and the business renting, leasing, or operating from the same location, only (1) award can be applied for.

Will the grant award go to me, the business owner, or to my business?
Grant funds will go to the legal business entity and not the individual business owner.


Is the data that I submit secure?
If the applicant prefers to submit data securely, it is the sole responsibility of the applicant to submit through a secured or encrypted format. Once data has been received by Harford County Government, all data at rest is encrypted in a secure format. 

What information is absolutely needed for the application to be complete?
Businesses will need to provide sufficient documentation to satisfy the grant requirements. You may redact any sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers, Birth dates, Driver’s License Numbers, and/or an owner’s personal address.

My lease is very long and may be hard to send electronically. Am I able to just send the page(s) that show my address?

It will be the business owner’s responsibility to provide sufficient detail showing they have an active lease or rental contract for use as a business in Harford County.  At a minimum, a business owner will need to include the first page of the lease and any additional pages of the document needed to clearly indicate the name (business or individual applying) on the lease, address of the business location, term of the lease, lease payment, and signature pages.  Applicants are welcome to include the entire lease document as an electronic file.  Please note, failure to submit proper documentation needed to verify a valid commercial lease or rental contract will result in the application being returned and loss of spot in the queue.

Who will be reviewing the grant applications?
An extensive first-come, first-served process has been established involving county staff from multiple departments and will include several stages of management review.

With regards to the MD Public Information Act Disclosure for the Relief Grant Programs, what information and documentation submitted with the application is subject to public disclosure?
Any document deemed a public record by the Maryland Public Information Act is subject to disclosure in response to a request under said law. For more information, visit 
https://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/OpenGov/pia.aspx

How were the eligibility criteria established for the program?
Harford County Government created the program in compliance with the CARES Act and focused on businesses ownership as the core of the program.  While we do understand that some businesses may not be eligible for funds, we highly encourage those individuals to take advantage of the newly formed CARES eligibility requirements for the Maryland State Unemployment Insurance program found at https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/unemployment.shtml.


Does my building need to be occupied to qualify for the grant funding?  
Yes.  The funds are specifically designed to assist businesses; therefore, vacant buildings will not qualify for the funding. 

I own, lease, or rent land.  Do I qualify for grant funding? 
No.  The Business Owners Assistance grant is available for commercial “bricks and mortar” businesses only.

I own my commercial building outright (free of mortgage, lease, or rent).  Am I eligible for the grant funding? 
No.  The grant funds can only be expended on commercial mortgage, commercial rent or commercial lease payments.  Business owners not making these payments will not be deemed eligible for the funds.

If I have multiple locations in Harford County, can I apply for each location?
Yes. If each location is owned by a separate legal business structure, has a separate commercial business mortgage, commercial rental or leasing contract and serves as the primary place of business for the applicant.  The mortgage, lease, or rental agreement must be in the name of the legal structure making application.  A separate application would need to filed for each location.  Only one award can be made per business ownership entity.

Who can I contact for assistance with the application? 
If you need assistance with assessing your eligibility or compiling the needed documents for your application, we advise that you consult with your financial or legal advisors. For assistance with filling out the application, please contact our local Small Business Development Center at 
http://www.mdsbdc.umd.edu/locations/northern-region.


Have a question that wasn't answered? Email COVIDgrantquestions@harfordcountymd.gov.