City Council to vote on program that could give $500K in small business relief funds

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on Feb. 26. Watson/The Signal
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Small businesses in Santa Clarita that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic could receive up to $5,000 each through a COVID-19 relief grant program the City Council is expected to vote on Tuesday. 

The program would utilize $500,000 from the $2.74 million the city allocated from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help businesses within city limits that have fewer than 100 employees, according to program details. 

“The city remains committed to supporting small local businesses. In response to the urgent needs of Santa Clarita’s business community in light of the global pandemic, the 2020 Santa Clarita Small Business COVID Relief Grant Program is proposed,” read a city agenda report. 

To obtain reimbursement, businesses must have made expenses related to the health crisis from March 1 through Dec. 30 and present the city with receipts. 

Expenses include personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves and face shields; cleaning and sanitizing products; health screenings, such as temperature assessments and symptom screenings; physical space modifications; and adaptive business services that have allowed businesses to remain open, such as disinfecting services for increased sanitation and other disinfecting procedures. 

Should the City Council approve the program, the city would accept applications from Oct. 14 through Oct. 28. Eligible businesses would be selected through a lottery system and distribution would be completed by Dec. 30, according to the agenda report. 

Using the same criteria and in partnering with the city on the program, the SCV Economic Development Corp. agreed to offer one-time financial reimbursements to eligible businesses located within the city and in unincorporated areas, read the city report. 

Los Angeles County will also offer $30,000 to small businesses located in the county, except the city of L.A., via its own revitalization grant program, to use toward employee payroll and adaptive practices and working capital to remain open. 

Target industries include breweries and wineries with no kitchen, tanning salons, miniature golf parks, kart racing centers and batting cage facilities. Applications will be accepted for a one-week period now through Oct. 16, with a lottery broadcast on Oct. 20 via revitalizationgrant.lacda.org. 

Officials with the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, which has advocated for and offered a variety of resources to local businesses, applauded city and county efforts in bringing the relief programs. 

“We are pleased our city and county are securing funds and making them accessible for our local businesses during this time,” Ivan Volschenk, Managing Partner at Evolve Business Strategies, which manages the SCV Chamber, said in a statement. “This is great news for businesses who have been doing their best to manage through this trying time.

COVID-19 community development block grant


City Council members are also expected to award three contracts for COVID-19-related Community Development Block Grants — funds also coming from the city’s share of federal relief dollars. 

Up to $350,000 will go to: 

  • Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging for $145,200 for vehicles, meals and groceries for local seniors.
  • Bridge to Home for $54,800 to cover for staffing and meals during their temporary stay at the Newhall Community Center.
  • Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation for up to $150,000 for rapid COVID-19 testing. 

The City Council meeting is scheduled 6 p.m. Tuesday. 

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