PHARR — The Pharr COVID-19 Recovery Center is up and running as of Wednesday.
The center, which is based out of the Pharr Events Center, 3000 N. Cage Blvd., is intended to provide a variety of assistance to local businesses, from financial advice and workforce help, to tips on navigating state guidelines on business reopenings.
Among the services the center will provide are: financial assistance for businesses, details on state and federal funding opportunities, work safe plans, workforce opportunities, reopen Texas guidelines, services to help connect with customers, answers to business operations in Pharr, and access to no-cost business consulting for Pharr residents and businesses.
“We’re here to help all of our residents and businesses in the community get back on their feet. We know they’re going through a hard time ever since we had the shutdown of the economy,” Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said Thursday.
“People were laid off, and some people are having a really hard time financially, even to provide food for their families. Whether it be rent or utilities, they need assistance, and I think its incumbent on us as community leaders to take care of the people who we represent,” he said.
Visitors to the recovery center are required to wear masks upon entering the building. Markers on the floor indicate where one must stand in order to practice social distancing.
“As soon as they come in, they register with one of the girls in the front,” Pharr Business Retention and Expansion Manager Karina Lopez said.
“The girls in the front will get the basic information from the resident or the business and try to gauge what their needs are going to be,” she said.
Once the information is shared, visitors will be directed to an adviser who will provide individualized assistance.
“They place them here on a waiting period while they get the adviser notified — what the resources are that this individual is looking into. Once they get the information here, they contact one of our advisers,” Lopez said.
“They will get a little more information on you, what your needs are, and they would’ve already had a little base of what you’re requesting … to be sure that we’re trying to give you as much information that we can on those resources,” she said.
The center came together through the combined efforts of the city of Pharr and the Pharr Economic Development Corporation. Together, they were able to create financial assistance programs for Pharr residents, including utilities and funding for small businesses, including rent and mortgages.
“If you look at it, in terms of the proactiveness that the city has done, the city has done a very good job in terms of following all the different federal pots (of money) that are coming through COVID-19,” said Cynthia Garza Reyes, director of external relations.
“Whether it’s through federal agencies, or whether it’s through the CARES (Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, we’ve been able to designate what type of pots could potentially be used for a facility like this under COVID-19 duress.”
The recovery center will continue to operate for as long as there is a community need for financial assistance and guidance amid the pandemic, Lopez said.
Any Pharr resident or business owner seeking financial assistance or guidance is encouraged to contact the COVID-19 Recovery Center at (956) 402-4311 to set up an appointment. Walk-ins are also accepted.
Proof of residency is required, as the center is specifically designed to assist Pharr businesses and residents only.
The center is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
All services are available at no cost.