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published on May 15, 2020 - 1:58 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The Fresno City Council on Thursday approved a slate of COVID-19 relief programs, including an additional $2 million for its small business grant program.

That funding joins an initial $750,000 approved in March for the “Save Our Small Business” loan-to-grant program. Another $1.5 million was approved last month. Out of 2,000 applications received, 116 businesses were provided funding of $5,000 or $10,000.

The council also approved $1.5 million for a housing retention grant program to help Fresno residents impacted by job loss or reduction in hours to pay housing related expenses. The program would provide one-time assistance of $500 to individuals and $1,000 to households for mortgages or rent.

The program, which would be administered by local nonprofits, could also pay landlords directly with the agreement to accept 80% of total rent owed up until next month.

The resolutions were introduced by Fresno City Councilmembers Esmeralda Soria, Paul Caprioglio and Luis Chavez.

Another resolution approved by the council would provide $500,000 in assistance to struggling mirco farmers affected by reduced market activity due to COVID-19. The Fresno Micro Farmers Farm to Family Program will be administered in partnership with the Asian Business Institute & Resource Center. Eligible small farmers could receive grants of $1,000 if they agree to donate surplus products to the Central California Food Bank.

“ABIRC is profoundly thankful for Councilwoman Soria and the City’s respected leadership for providing the funds to assist one of the most socially disadvantaged micro business communities. Our Southeast Asian farmers were not able to secure any funding from earlier efforts and these funds will not only assist these business owners, but will also feed constituents in our community who are experiencing food insecurity,” said Blong Xiong, executive director of the Asian Business Institute & Resource Center.

Funding for these programs comes from the Federal CARES Act.

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