Mayor London Breed and Board of Supervisors Announce $10 Million Small Business Relief Fund to Support Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

 
04/12/2020

City commits $9 million to launch new zero interest loan fund and adds $1 million to the City’s Resiliency Fund, increasing support for workers and small business

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, Board of Supervisors Budget Chair Sandra Fewer, Supervisor Hillary Ronen, and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) announced today their commitment to launch a new Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to support small businesses facing sudden revenue loss from COVID-19. The $10 million fund commits $9 million to a new Emergency Loan Fund, and an additional $1 million to expand the COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund. The Resiliency Fund has received more than 2,000 applications since launching on March 11th

“The steps we have taken to slow the spread of coronavirus will save lives. But this is a scary time for small businesses and workers because the impact that this pandemic is having is severe to not just public health, but also our local economy and people’s livelihoods,” said Mayor Breed. “Our focus remains helping our small businesses through both the immediate challenges they’re facing with this emergency loan fund, be we know that there is much more to be done over the coming weeks and months to help our businesses and our workers get back on their feet.”

The Small Business Emergency Loan Fund will provide small businesses up to $50,000 in zero interest loans. These loans will have a flexible repayment schedule and the terms will be determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. This Emergency Loan fund will expand access to cash for small businesses who may have difficulty accessing more traditional loan products, and help sustain them through the ongoing public health crisis. Applications will be made available by April 6, 2020.  

"The shelter-in-place order -- while absolutely essential for public health -- has businesses scrambling to figure out how to stay afloat. San Francisco small businesses employ hundreds of thousands of workers. They are the lifeblood of our economy and the soul of our neighborhoods. We can’t let them go under,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “I am so glad that I was able to work alongside the Mayor and her Director of Economic Development to make this happen and to get these dollars flowing quickly to businesses in crisis."

On March 11th, Mayor Breed, announced the City’s Resiliency Fund to provide immediate relief to small businesses with an initial investment of $1 million to provide over 100 businesses with grants up to $10,000. Today’s additional investment of $1 million increases the fund to $2 million to support over 200 small business across San Francisco neighborhoods that need immediate relief. This fund, together with community partners, will be administered by OEWD to businesses that show a loss of revenue.

"I am thankful for the much needed relief for our small businesses who are under tremendous stress at this time," said Supervisor and Budget Chair Sandra Lee Fewer. "Although this is critical support, we know that much more help is needed to keep our small businesses afloat. I encourage those who can to contribute to the Give2SF Fund and bolster these efforts to keep our local merchants thriving.”

“Getting accessible capital in the hands of our small businesses community during this extremely difficult time is essential to their ongoing vitality,” said Joaquin Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “The Small Business Relief Fund builds upon the City’s immediate work to provide financial support and economic relief to our neighborhood and historically underserved businesses during a time when every resource matters.”

“We're proud to live in a City that's led the country in safeguarding the public health, and thrilled that San Francisco is showing the same leadership in delivering economic relief to our small businesses,” said Laurie Thomas, Executive Director, Golden Gate Restaurant Association. “This new $10M small business city relief fund couldn't come soon enough. Our restaurants and small businesses need cash now to survive long enough to take advantage of slower state and federal funding, and is going to be the difference for a lot of us.”

Federal Relief – CARE Act

The Small Business Administration (SBA), through Economic Injury Disaster Loans, is also offering up to $2 million in assistance for small businesses and nonprofits. These low interest loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses that have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a $10,000 advance, which does not have to be repaid. An online loan application portal is available to business owners at https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/.

Additionally, the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for businesses with 500 employees or less, includes loans made by existing SBA lenders up to $10 million to cover fixed costs with conditions for eventual forgiveness. All eligible businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to apply. OEWD, together with community based organizations, is currently organizing a network of providers that provide one on one technical assistance to support small business seeking to benefit from these resources. For more information, visit: www.oewd.org/covid19

Mayor Breed’s initiatives to support small business include:

  • $54 million in business taxes and licensing fees deferrals, impacting 11,000 payees;
  • $10 million Workers and Families First Paid Sick Leave Program, proving up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per employee;
  • $9 million Emergency Loan Fund providing up to $50,000 in zero interest loans for individual small businesses;
  • $2 million Resiliency Grants providing up to $10,000 grants to over 200 small businesses;
  • $2.5 million in support for working artists and arts and cultural organizations financially impacted by COVID-19;
  • Supporting nonprofits funded by the City so workers don’t lose their incomes;
  • Issuing a Moratorium on Commercial Evictions for small and medium sized businesses that can’t afford to pay rent;
  • Advocating for additional resources for small business and workers through the federal CARE Act;
  • Establishing City Philanthropic www.Give2SF.org Fund, where donations will support housing stabilization, food security, and financial security for workers and small businesses impacted by coronavirus;
  • Launching a one stop City website for businesses and workers seeking resources, contacts, and updates during the COVID-19 emergency: www.oewd.org/covid19.

“The San Francisco Council of District Merchants Association appreciates Mayor Breed’s continuous support of the small underrepresented businesses,” said Maryo Mogannam, President of Council of District Merchants Association. “I commend the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors on their leadership under duress and for continuing to look for and offer solutions for our small businesses.”

Defer Business Taxes for Small Businesses

In order to provide immediate cash-flow assistance to small businesses, Mayor Breed, together with Treasurer Cisneros has notified small businesses that the next round of quarterly businesses taxes can be deferred. Businesses are required to pre-pay their first quarter business taxes for current tax year by April 30th. This announcement will allow businesses to not pre-pay, deferring payment due to February 2021. No interest payments, fees, or fines will accrue as a result of the deferral. This benefit, valued at approximately $43 million, will be offered to business with up to $10 million in gross receipts, benefiting approximately 8,050 businesses with an average $5,400 tax payment deferral each.

Defer Business Licensing Fees

The City will provide further tax relief by delaying the City’s collection of the unified license bill, which includes but is not limited to charges to restaurants and food businesses, bars, convenience stores, many small retailers, hotels, and tour operators, from departments such as the Department of Public Health, Entertainment Commission, Fire Department, and Police Department. The initial delay will be for three months, with a further delay to be contemplated based on need. This will lead to $11 million in deferrals impacting 11,000 payees.

Loan Assistance

The Small Business Emergency Loan Fund will provide small businesses up to $50,000 in zero interest loans. These loans will have a flexible repayment schedule and the terms will be determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. This Emergency Loan fund will expand access to cash for small businesses who may have difficulty accessing more traditional loan products, and help sustain them through the ongoing public health crisis.

Provide Immediate Relief

The City has established a resiliency fund to provide immediate relief for impacted small businesses with an investment to date of $2 million to provide over 200 businesses with grants up to $10,000 each in immediate relief. This fund is administered by community partners together with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to businesses that show a loss of revenue and has been increased due to rising needs.

Guarantee Continuance of City-Funded Nonprofit Contracts

The Controller has issued guidance to our nonprofit partners that the City will continue to pay pursuant to contracts even if the nonprofit organization’s operations are affected. This will ensure nonprofit workers will not lose income due to illness or if a nonprofit is shut down or experiences service disruptions as part of the novel coronavirus response.

Arts Relief

Mayor London N. Breed announced an Arts Relief Program to invest directly in working artists and arts and cultural organizations financially impacted by COVID-19. $2.5 million in support will go to working artists and arts and cultural organizations financially impacted by COVID-19. The investment is a combination of funding strategies designed to help the arts and culture community through grants and low-interest loans to organizations and working artists most impacted by this crisis. The Arts Relief Program is funded by an initial $2.5 million from the City.

Paid Sick Leave for Workers

Mayor London N. Breed announced a Workers and Families First Program to provide paid sick leave to private sector workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan includes $10 million in public funding that will provide businesses with funding to provide an additional five days of sick leave pay to workers beyond their existing policies.

The Workers and Families First Program will support over 16,000 additional weeks of sick leave pay, providing coverage for up to 25,000 San Francisco employees. Currently 429 businesses have applied for a total of $5.2 million in pre-approved support.

Seek State and Federal Support for Businesses and Workers

Mayor Breed is working with local partners to advocate for regulatory relief from both state and federal government around employment benefits, including unemployment, sick leave, disability, and other matters.

Three new federal programs extend California’s regular unemployment benefits ranging from $40-$450/week from 26 weeks up to a total of 39 weeks, expand who is eligible to include self-employed persons, independent contractors and persons whose benefits have already run out, and increases the amount of benefits by an additional $600 per week through July 31, 2020.

Secure Private Sector and Philanthropic Support for Small Businesses

Mayor London N. Breed and City Administrator Naomi M. Kelly announced the City and County of San Francisco’s Give2SF Fund allows the City to accept tax-deductible monetary contributions, which will be used to support various City efforts addressing housing stabilization needs, food security and relief for workers and small business. Multiple private and philanthropic partners and individual donors have committed resources to this fund since its announcement.

Support for Employees and Contractors

The City is requesting that all private sector employers in San Francisco be as flexible as possible with their employees and with their small business contractors. The City will lead by example by reaching out to commercial tenants to discuss any need for rent payment deferral, including tenants at the Port, the Airport, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and others.

Website to Provide Information for Small Businesses

The City has created a one-stop resource for employers and employees outlining all existing resources, contacts for assistance, and to provide updates on the City’s growing response to the business and worker communities. Website: www.oewd.org/covid19.

SOURCE: https://sfmayor.org/article/mayor-london-breed-and-board-supervisors-announce-10-million-small-business-relief-fund


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