County prepares $20 million grant program to assist businesses and renters
Applications will be available June 17 at www.vcreopens.com
In an effort to assist businesses and residents, the County of Ventura’s CEO’s Office is finalizing a $20 million Economic Stabilization and Recovery Program aimed at providing relief to businesses and families by utilizing funding from the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund. These programs will launch on June 17. Residents and business owners can subscribe for updates at www.vcreopens.com to be informed when applications become available.
“These programs will help mitigate the devastating impacts to our local businesses and residents,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. “We know that this is not enough to meet all the needs, but it is our hope that these funds will help with recovery.”
The first program is an Economic Stabilization and Recovery Program for businesses. The program was developed in consultation with the Economic Development Collaborative, Women’s Economic Ventures and the Ventura County Community Foundation. The program will provide business assistance grants to local businesses.
“We are honored and eager to participate in this extremely impactful program to support local small businesses. Kudos to the County of Ventura for moving so quickly to deliver vital resources and key partners who will help restart our local economy,” said Women’s Economic Ventures CEO Kathy Odell.
The main features of the proposed program are to include grants of $5,000 each for small businesses to alleviate impacts from COVID-19 for allowed uses such as payroll support, rent and lease payments, costs for personal protective equipment, purchases related to the operation of their businesses, and extraordinary business expenses for adhering to compliance protocols for reopening.
“This commitment by the County of Ventura for a business relief fund represents an extraordinary expression of leadership and understanding for the horrendous impacts to businesses and workers. Among the many needs of businesses are funds to help cover immediate expenses, essential to keeping them open. We are thrilled the County recognizes that and is contributing so substantially to our region’s sustainability,” said Bruce Stenslie, President CEO Economic Development Collaborative.
The second part of the program is for rental assistance and is intended to serve as bridge funding for residential rent while other funding opportunities are being considered at the state and federal level.
“Preserving housing stability is essential to community resilience- and many of our lower income individuals and families are struggling with meeting the most basic of needs during this time. The rental assistance program will allow individuals and families to remain stably housed and better positioned to meet basic needs- while providing financial relief for landlords and property owners,” said Melissa Livingston, Acting Director of the Human Services Agency.
The program will help to stabilize housing for the lowest-income residents and those at greatest risk due to loss of employment, loss of work hours or the inability to work due to child care needs, family/elder care needs, or substantial medical costs due to COVID19. While the funding may not fully cover monthly rent, it will assist in reducing amounts owed. The program will provide micro-grants to low-income individuals and families. The grant amount will be based on rental unit size, $1,500 for a studio/1 bedroom and $2,500 for a 2 bedroom or larger, with a maximum of two months of rent owed.