St. Paul families and businesses flooded the city with applications for emergency cash assistance in the hours after the St. Paul Bridge Fund went live Wednesday, and demand soon outpaced supply.

Applications opened shortly before 7 p.m.; by 2 p.m. Thursday, 1,801 families and 833 businesses had applied, according to city spokeswoman Lisa Hiebert. Up to 1,000 families will receive $1,000 grants and about 300 small businesses will receive $7,500 grants.

People can apply online and by phone, and will be open until 5 p.m. April 19. Recipients will be chosen through a lottery, and funds disbursed in late April or early May. No preference will be given based on when an application was submitted.

The $3.85 million bridge fund is paid for by the city — which allocated $3.3 million from its Housing and Redevelopment Authority budget — along with local foundations, corporations and sports teams.

For more information, or to file an application, visit or call 651-266-6565, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interpretation is available in Hmong, Spanish, Somali, Oromo and Karen.