LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County officials announced Tuesday that $46.2 million of federal CARES Act money has been distributed to more than 1,400 community businesses and other groups to help retain or hire employees, implement COVID-19-related safety measures, and comply with local health orders.
At the direction of the Board of Supervisors, the county's Department of Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services, along with REDF, a venture philanthropy focused on building the employment social enterprise sector, partnered to provide the CARES Act funds to small businesses, social enterprises, B corporations, non-profits, and Community Business Enterprises located in economically disadvantaged communities throughout Los Angeles County.
More than 1,400 small businesses and non-profit organizations were awarded funding, out of more than 2,400 total applicants -- a 60% acceptance rate.
Of the total money awarded, $33.3 million went to small businesses and$12.7 million was awarded to social enterprises, B-Corps, and CBEs.
"Small local businesses and their employees are dealing with profound uncertainty in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and a shuttered economy," Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis said.
"These businesses anchor our families, contribute to the historical identity to our communities and invigorate development in every corner of our county. Many have been directly impacted by the economic fallout and have also struggled to gain equal access under federal aid efforts. While we were successful in supporting many small businesses in disadvantaged communities, advocacy around further federal relief is critical in order to alleviate the economic inequalities this sector continues to be confronted with," Solis said.
Supervisor Holly Mitchell called the funding critical for small businesses and organizations that have been balancing following COVID-19 guidelines and fighting to keep people employed.
"I am thrilled that the LA County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services has been able to expand the reach and impact of the CARES Act. This work cannot be done without federal funding. We know that $46 million must not be viewed as the ceiling but instead as part of an on-going commitment to protecting local government services, small businesses and nonprofits that are the lifelines of our communities," Mitchell said.
"This very welcome announcement demonstrates the county's ongoing commitment to responsibly helping small businesses during the pandemic, "Supervisor Sheila Kuehl added. "My thanks go to the many businesses struggling in my district and across the county. We will continue to push to achieve greater help across the board."
Officials estimated that as many as 5,700 layoffs are being averted thanks to the funding.