L.A. County launches $500,000 fund to aid businesses in need amid coronavirus crisis

Los Angeles County is launching a $500,000 fund to provide grants of up to $10,000 each to local businesses in need.

Business owners should act fast, as applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis and closed once 150 applications are received.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the Board of Supervisors and theDepartment of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services joined together to create the fund.

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"The coronavirus pandemic has impacted residents and businesses throughout Los Angeles County," Barger said Monday. "It is vitally important that we pursue every resource available to support local business and help maintain good job opportunities throughout the region."

The Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services will host a webinar at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday -- to guide business owners on how to apply.

The application site will open Wednesday at 8 a.m. at https://workforce.lacounty.gov/.

About 25% of awards will be reserved for social enterprises that demonstrate a need and ability to serve vulnerable populations. Priority will also be given to businesses in unincorporated areas of the county.

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Supervisor Hilda Solis said an unprecedented response is required.

"Los Angeles County will assist our most burdened businesses impacted by the COVID 19 crisis with the launch of our Employer Assistance Grant Fund," Solis said. "This innovative state-funded program will help our local businesses, including nonprofits and social enterprises that serve our communities' most vulnerable individuals. This unprecedented global pandemic requires an unprecedented response, and L.A. County stands ready to offer relief to our small businesses."

In order to qualify, businesses must:

-- be a for-profit corporation, partnership, or nonprofit with a for-
profit activity in Los Angeles County;
   -- have between two and 50 full-time employees;
   -- have less than $2 million in gross receipts or annual revenue;
   -- have been established on or before Dec. 4, 2019;
   -- be able to produce tax returns; and
   -- demonstrate significant economic hardship as a result of COVID-19.

Businesses that have demonstrated evidence of a loss of revenue of at least 20%
will have met this burden.

Businesses can use the money to:
   -- pay mortgages, rent or utilities;
   -- cover working capital costs;
   -- pay for inventory;
   -- bridge funding to other lenders, such as Small Business
Administration Payroll Protection; and
   -- pay down other debt incurred before the covered period.

The grants may not be used to pay outstanding taxes, legal judgments, employee payroll or benefits or for lobbying.

The WDACS acting director, Otto Solorzano, thanked state officials for making monies available for the fund, which he said would be the first of its kind in California.

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"Thank you to Gov. (Gavin) Newsom and (the California Employment Development Department) for providing this critical funding for L.A. County's businesses, and to the Board of Supervisors for their support of this essential program," Solorzano said. "The Employer Assistance Grant Fund will provide some of our local businesses with desperately needed capital at a critical time, allowing them to retain workers and remain in business."