San Diego City Hall. Photo by Chris Stone

City officials announced a proposal Wednesday to reallocate $700,000 from San Diego’s Small Business Relief Fund toward helping hard-hit businesses in historically underserved communities to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposal, which still requires city council approval, would provide grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, specialized outreach, and technical assistance to business owners.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the funds represented “extra cash in business owners’ hands for things like rent, payroll and personal protective equipment.” Business owners would also be provided “outreach to help owners comply with all the regulations and connect them with other available relief sources” at the state or federal level, the mayor said.

Eligible businesses must:

— be self-employed, an independent contractor, a sole proprietor, or a corporation with revenues less than $100,000;

— have 10 or fewer employees;

— document a decline in revenue due to COVID-19;

— have been in operation for at least six months.

The city council is slated to consider the reallocation early next month.

Faulconer said city officials will also ask the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to match the funds.

“With San Diego’s small businesses struggling to survive, we need to do everything we can to help them stay open safely and responsibly as we get through this pandemic together,” Faulconer said. “We also want to ensure that every small business in San Diego has equal access to the relief funds so we’re reaching out directly to our Black, Latino and Asian business communities to encourage their members to take advantage of this opportunity.”

During a news conference held in front of the Black-owned Gentry’s Beauty and Barber Headquarters in Lincoln Park, City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery, who grew up in San Diego’s District 4 and represents the district on the council, said, “This pandemic has widened the gap of inequity in many areas that have plagued our city, including our unparalleled disinvestment in communities of color.”

She added, “As elected officials, we must do everything within our power to alleviate the burdens on small businesses to prevent doors from shuttering permanently,” and called the proposed $700,000 “a start, and we know that it is not enough but we have to take one step at a time.”

— City News Service

Show comments