The first Yucaipa City Council meeting of the new year was on Jan. 11, the council awarded four local businesses a CDBG-CV (Community Development Block Grant-Coronavirus) loan to grant check for the Small Business Assistance Program which is a supplemental allocation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program to support coronavirus (COVID-19) response activities.
Housing and Economic Development Analyst Caroline Velarde said, “Over much of last year, staff worked on developing this program which was approved by council last May using the CDBG funds that were awarded to the city.”
The city of Yucaipa is considered a Cooperative City which means it partners with the county to implement the federal CDBG program.
Under the CDBG-CV Small Business Assistance Program, the city is providing zero-interest loan to grants in the amount of $10,000 to approved businesses. Velarde said there were many requirements that staff had to incorporate into the program to ensure that it benefited the target population but also met strict CDBG guidelines.
“All CDBG programs must meet one of three national objectives. 1) Benefit low to moderate income persons. 2) Aid the prevention or elimination of slums or blight. 3) Meet a need having a particular urgency such as a national disaster,” said Velarde.
Velarde continued by saying, “This program met national objective number one. Benefiting low to moderate income persons, in that all participating businesses are required to retain a low to moderate income employee for a continuous six month period.”
In addition to meeting the income limits for the low to moderate FTE (full-time equivalent) and having between six and 500 employees, the business must be located in Yucaipa, be a for-profit, have an active business license of at least six months, have the ability to repay the loan should it not turn into a grant and be negatively affected by the COVID-19 closures and exhaust all other forms of financial assistance.
The loan would become a grant only if the businesses comply throughout the duration of the program. Businesses unable to meet the requirement will be considered noncompliant and be required to repay the loan. The loan term is for 18 months with a 0% interest rate.
“This application required extensive documentation from applicants,” said Velarde.
During the pre-application phase there were 23 businesses that expressed interest in the program. A total of 13 applications were received. Not all the applications were approved due to incomplete information or missing documents and some could not prove the business experienced a loss in revenue. The key criteria for qualifying for the program was loss in revenue.
The approved Yucaipa CDBG-CV Small Business Assistance Loan to Grant Program applicants were introduced to the city council members by Velarde. Brewcaipa Brewing Company, which is located at 35058 Yucaipa Blvd,. was present. The other three approved applicants that were not able to be present were Hickory Ranch Steakhouse (32971 Yucaipa Blvd.), Queen Bean Caffé (12045 Fifth St.) and Steamers Fine Cleaners and Laundry (33562 Yucaipa Blvd., Suite No 8).
Velarde stated, “The city was the only city in the county to implement a small business assistance program utilizing CDBG funds and per the county, no city has actually implemented such a program in the last 10 to 15 years. Both of those really speak to how complex it is to develop and administer such a program.”
Velarde thanked the council for approving the program and supporting it.
Brewcaipa’s Scott Daniels was called up to receive the loan to grant check and thanked the city council and city for putting this program together. Daniels said, “It will be used to retain two employees for the six months, so thank you.”