Forgivable Loans Offered to Provide COVID-19 Relief for Businesses in Northwest and Central City CRAs
Fort Lauderdale, July 15, 2020 – The City of Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) announces an Emergency Business Investment Program designed to provide relief for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide forgivable financing to eligible small businesses located in Fort Lauderdale’s Northwest Progresso Flagler Heights Community Redevelopment Area (NPFCRA) as well as the Central City CRA. Also, eligible businesses in low and moderate-income areas of the City may apply to receive up to $10,000 in forgivable loans that may be used towards rent or mortgage payments, employee payroll, or utilities.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and many are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Dean J. Trantalis. “We have created an Emergency Business Investment Program to help support them in these difficult times. The assistance can help pay bills and stabilize operations. As a city, we need to do all we can to assist in the long-term economic recovery.”
Providing small businesses with financial support through the Emergency Business Investment Program can bring stability to the local economy, reduce commercial vacancy rates, and help balance rents in the two CRA areas and the community-at-large. The initiative is targeted to business entities that are less likely to be served by the Small Business Administration, including those owned by minorities and women, those that have changed their business models to retain hourly workers, and those that are vital anchors in the Fort Lauderdale community.
Applications for the Emergency Business Investment Program are available online and will be accepted until funding is exhausted. The City allocated $1.34 million to fund the emergency relief program. The three grant funding sources include: $500,000 from the NPFCRA, $340,000 from the Central City CRA, and $500,000 from Community Development Block Grants through the CARES Act.
Applicants must meet program criteria in order to be eligible to receive a forgivable loan. Businesses must be located in the NPFCRA or the Central City CRA or an eligible low- and moderate-income community (as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) and have been in operation for at least six months. Eligible applicants may employ up to 10 people and earn up to $1 million in annual revenue. Applicants should also have a current Business Tax Receipt (BTR) and have not received federal or state COVID-19 assistance or relief at the time of the application. Additional qualifications may apply. The loans will be zero-interest for 24 months. The loans may be forgiven, if all conditions are met, otherwise they must be repaid at the end of that term.