Fullerton City Council voted 5-0 at their May 19 meeting to allocate $819,487 in federal CARES Act funding (through the Community Development Block Grant program) to various City programs aimed at providing relief to businesses and residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The three main programs are as follows:
Small Business Loan Program ($500,000)
Working with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the City will provide low interest loans of up to $25,000 to small businesses who hire (or rehire) a minimum of 1 low-income worker. The first program, with funding of $250,000, focuses on Micro-Businesses with 1 to 5 employees. The second loan program (also with funding of $250,000) is for businesses with up to 100 employees. Loans will be provided to Fullerton businesses that have had one of the following COVID related impacts: loss of 25% or more in revenue, closure due to nonessential business or loss of employees. The loan repayment will be deferred for up to one year and could be forgiven if the low-income worker is retained for one year. If approved, the program would be ready to launch in early June.
An Application Portal will be on the City’s website starting in June.
Homeless Prevention Through Rental Assistance ($210,000)
The City has many residents in need of assistance to avoid homelessness. To aid in the prevention of homelessness, the City will work with Pathways of Hope, under which up to three months of services will be offered to qualified, low-income residents. This will include rental, utility, or food assistance.
A letter submitted to council by Cesar Covarrubias, executive director of The Kennedy Commission, a local affordable housing advocacy group, urged council to allocate the rental assistance funds “in a way that ensures the program is truly accessible to all residents, especially the most vulnerable” and for the City “to find additional funds that can be used to ensure legal representation is provided to tenants during eviction cases.”
“The local, state, and judicial protections currently in effect only delay evictions; they do not prevent them,” Covarrubias wrote. “Once the protections are lifted, we fear there will be an overwhelming amount of evictions filed that will cause many to be displaced.”
Feed Fullerton ($85,000)
To ensure seniors, or persons of low-income have adequate nutrition during this time, the Feed Fullerton program will work with both the senior and low-income populations that are currently not receiving food assistance and will team with our local residents to deliver hot meals. An additional $7,000 will go to Meals on Wheels Orange County to assist with the additional meals being served to seniors through the City’s Senior Center, as well as $7,000 to Fullerton City Lights (CARE Housing Social Services) to assist with emergency food assistance for their residents.
Program administration costs will be $10,487.
The Citizen Participation Plan, established to encourage citizen input on how the money was allocated, was decreased from 30-days to 5-days (May 12-19), which was allowed during local, state or national emergency declarations.
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