Small business grants, stimulus payments and student aid in CA relief package

Small business grants, stimulus payments and student aid in CA relief package

Olivia Sandusky

Sherri Clarke opened her non-profit, 2nd Chance Building Materials, in Morongo Valley one year ago, just as the coronavirus shut down the economy.

“For a first year in business, you’re expected to have losses, and we definitely experienced some losses,” said Clarke.

The company’s goal is to provide low-cost building materials while reducing the impact on landfills.

While the business was able to stay afloat throughout a financially challenging year, Clarke now hopes California’s latest round of small business grants can help.

“As a company that is trying to service individuals, we would be able to hire individuals for moving and we could make available deliveries and pick ups much easier,” said Clarke. 

The grants are part of the state’s 7.6 billion dollar coronavirus relief package Gov. Newsom signed Tuesday, and can range from $5,000 to $25,000.

Katie Stice, the CEO of the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce, says the move comes at a critical time for valley residents.

“This would be the height of the season for so many. And there are folks just barely hanging on right now, so any relief that comes forward is going to be well received,” said Stice.

Stice encourages any struggling businesses to apply, and she says, while the information can be confusion, there are various outlets that offer help.

“What I would recommend is that they reach out to their local chambers of commerce, we will likely put them in touch with the Small Business Development Center, the Small Business Administration and even our elected officials if necessary,” said Stice.

Alongside business grants, the relief package also includes $600 payments for individuals making $30,000 or less, which makes up almost 6 million Californians.

People who don’t have a social security number, a group largely made up of undocumented immigrants, are also eligible to receive the payments, making it the first time they’ll be included in a relief package.

“This money I know will come at a much needed time to help farm workers and other essential workers who haven’t stopped working since the pandemic began,” said Asm. Eduardo Garcia, 56th district.

In addition, money has also been set aside to support community college students and child care providers.

“Overall, it’s a comprehensive package to try to get Californians back on their feet. There’s much more to be done in partnership with our federal government, but this is a great start,” said Garcia. 

Experts say Californians can expect to receive the stimulus payments in April.

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