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Small Businesses Can Now Apply For COVID Rent Relief Until May 6

A cheerful, bustling crowd of people stand and sit outside a tan restaurant with elaborate brown patterns on its exterior in Leimert Park under a cloudless blue sky. Some are standing in the sunny Los Angeles glow, while others sit under the shade of a large trees in front of the building. Next to the building is a large food cart and umbrellas to keep community members cool.
Karina Guzman and Luis Moran from Inclusive Action for the City are working to make sure that all small business owners have equal access to apply for rent relief this spring.
(Chava Sanchez
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The City of Los Angeles is accepting applications for its small business rent relief program until May 6.

The program is for storefront owners who have fallen behind on rent as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Karina Guzman and Luis Moran work with the nonprofit Inclusive Action for the City, an organization that works to break down the barrier that may bar business owners from applying.

They are mainly helping Spanish-speaking small business owners with applications for this and other programs.

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They say lack of access to technology and language barriers are challenges for their clients. Guzman says people often come to her for help understanding what these opportunities entail.

“Even if applications is not English, the follow up email is coming in in English. The client is unaware of like, what is it asking me to do? What is it that they need?”

Moran also hopes the city is conducting extensive outreach about these programs. “Are there any other avenues or ways that these programs are being marketed — specifically targeting business owners, right?” he asked.

Many Latino businesses took a hit during the pandemic. In June 2020, 83% of businesses reported negative impacts to their businesses, according to the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative. About 74% reported revenue decline in a three-month period from March to June 2020.

While there was an eviction moratorium enacted to prevent commercial tenants from facing the consequences, it expired on March 1.

The Small Business Rent Relief Program was started in November 2021 to alleviate the negative economic impact many businesses faced. Now business owners can get up to $15,000 in relief for their rental payments.

Those interested can find the application on the Economic and Workforce Development Department website— and can use a Google Translate button at the top right of the application if needed.

General Manager Carolyn Hull says outreach includes sending emails to all L.A. businesses with an active license. The city has also contacted businesses in the City of Los Angeles who applied to a similar rent relief program that is only for entrepreneurs in unincorporated areas of L.A. County.

Additional reporting by Arantza Peña Popo

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