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City announces Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund

HONOLULU -- Today, the City and County of Honolulu announced a Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund using $25 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

The program, set to be launched on Monday, May 18, will reimburse small businesses for costs incurred from business interruption due to Emergency Proclamations and helps small businesses implement safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The City's Office of Economic Development (OED) has collaborated with community credit unions to receive grant applications and disburse funds. The participating credit unions are Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union, Hawai‘i State Federal Credit Union, Hawai‘i USA Federal Credit Union, and Honolulu Federal Credit Union.

"Using the CARES Act money to help our small businesses and get our economy back on its feet is essential," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. "Mahalo to the credit unions that have stepped up to offer their services to the mom-and-pop shops, senior homes, retail businesses, and restaurants across Oʻahu. Seeing these not-for-profit lending institutions come together during a time like this is a true indicator that the Aloha Spirit shines through and will be with us long after this pandemic is over."

"Today, we are not only stopping the spread, but taking action to stop the economic devastation caused by COVID-19," said Sherry Menor-McNamara, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i. "The Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund provides a badly needed lifeline to O‘ahu businesses who are struggling to keep the lights on and afford necessary changes to continue operations. Our local businesses are the heart of our communities, and we all need to continue to support local to help them through this difficult time. Mahalo to Mayor Caldwell and the City and County of Honolulu for your leadership on behalf of O‘ahu's business community."

Expenditures grants could be used for expenses like rent, utilities, payroll, lost sales, lost opportunities, and other capital expenses. The fund will also pay for costs incurred to implement physical distancing and other safety precautions to comply with business opening and operating guidelines.

"When you think of business recovery you don't always think of credit unions," said Vince Otsuka, President and CEO of Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union. "But these are unprecedented times. We are seeing a record number of our neighbors seeking relief during this crisis and we're proud to join the other major credit unions in the state at providing a helping hand. We look forward to this opportunity to help get O‘ahu safely back to work."

Each qualifying small business may receive benefits as a one-time payment. Proper documentation will accompany an application to demonstrate hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide funding support to Oʻahu small businesses in a one-time payment of $10,000 each and can include reimbursement for expenses related to implementing COVID-19 safety measures/precautions.

More information on the City's Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund will be posted on OneOahu.org.

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