City makes an additional $75M in aid available to struggling Oahu businesses

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 4:55 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 17, 2020 at 4:58 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city is making an additional $75 million in grants available to struggling businesses on Oahu through its Small Business and Recovery Fund.

Since the fund launched in May, it has distributed more than $50 million to over 5,500 small businesses. With the new funding, businesses that already received funding can apply again.

“Those who received $10,000 before, or up to, can apply again. Those who have not, they’re eligible for $20,000,” said Ed Hawkins, executive director of the city’s Office of Economic Development. “So if a business received, let’s say, $8,000 before, they can apply for the remainder, the $12,000.”

The grants are for reimbursements of business expenses.

“It is a reimbursement program," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

"You have to do the expenditure, you have to prove that you expended the funds, and you get reimbursed, and that is a requirement from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.”

The city has partnered with four local credit unions to review applications and distribute the funds, which the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii said comes at a critical time for small businesses.

“On a daily basis, we hear from small and local businesses many of them on the brink of closures, not knowing what to do," said chamber President Sherry Menor-McNamara. "We’re kinda running out of options.”

Caldwell said the next phase of the program will allow larger businesses to apply. Eligible businesses can get up to $50,000 in aid, which is funded through the federal CARES Act.

The program comes as Oahu remains under a stay-at-home order, which has closed non-essential business, from retailers to gyms. The order is in effect through Thursday.

After that, the mayor has said he is planning to ease some restrictions.

Caldwell also said that the city is prepared to make more of the CARES Act money available if necessary.

“Our CARES money has to expended by the end of the December, or we give it back to the United States Department of the Treasury, which would be a tragedy. We do not want to do that,” he said.

For more information on the program and to apply, click here.

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