Temecula to offer $500K in small business COVID-19 emergency relief grants

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Temecula city councilmember Zak Schwank proposed that the city come up with a relief program related to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on local businesses during a May 12 meeting of the city council. On Monday, May 25, the city announced a grant program of up to $500,000 that business could apply for starting Tuesday, May 26. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Jeff Pack
Staff Writer

The city of Temecula on Monday, May 25 announced the approval of $500,000 in aid for Temecula small businesses through the city’s Temecula Assist program. 

The Small Business Emergency Relief Grant was approved by the city council during the Thursday, May 21 budget meeting and is designated for small business owners in Temecula. 

The grant program is to help those business owners cope with the financial effects relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and applicants can begin the process on Tuesday, May 26. 

The effort of the city to help small businesses directly was first proposed by councilmember Zak Schwank during a May 12 morning council meeting.

“I think we value our businesses, we value our nonprofits, and rather than just stating it, let’s put together a loan program,” Schwank said during the meeting. “If our local businesses are impacted and they haven’t been able to receive any financial aid from the federal government, and we’re in a pretty good spot financially, maybe that’s a space for us to fill. We can actually step and up and help these that are suffering and get them back on their feet.”

Over the next several weeks, the city evolved Schwank’s proposal into the Small Business Emergency Relief Grant, rather than a loan program. 

“The Temecula Assist small business grant program is an important component to help revitalize our local economy,” Schwank said. “It is my hope that small businesses in Temecula can take advantage of this new program to help bridge the financial gap caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. We certainly have an obligation to our community, and this is just one way that the city of Temecula is working to protect and support affected businesses. I believe that Temecula Assist will help businesses pivot and adapt out of this unprecedented time in history.”

The city will offer two tracks for which businesses can apply for the grant: Rent Recovery and Job Retention funded with $329,000 from the Community Development Block Grant, and Business Improvement funded with the city’s General Fund money. 

There is a $10,000 maximum grant per business available with the Rent Recovery and Job Retention track offering money that can be used for rent, mortgage, payroll and focuses on low/moderate-income jobs. There is a two-year monitoring period associated with this grant. 

The Business Improvement track has a $5,000 maximum grant per business and funds can be used to retool and/or update a business to coincide with new health-related requirements. Examples provided included expanding outdoor patios, assistance with permit fees, improve e-commerce capabilities, and install sneeze guards. The grant has a six month monitoring period and all expenses must be COVID-19 related.

The application materials will be available on the city’s website starting Tuesday, May 26, and will be available through June 9. 

Once the application period ends, applicants will be selected from a lottery process and will then be deemed eligible and funds will be dispersed immediately after completion of the underwriting process. 

Business owners can only apply for one grant and will have six months to show eligible expenses incurred after June 9. 

The application materials are available at www.TemeculaCA.gov/TemeculaAssist.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.