HdL Assists the City of San Leandro in their Focus on Small Business Recovery

10/1/2022 Update: The City of San Leandro's Recovery Grant Program offset $372,140 in outstanding rent for 31 small San Leandro businesses. Each business was eligible for grants up to $15,000 and benefitted from a commitment by their landlord that their new or existing lease would run for at least a year following the grant payment.

The Program was established to give businesses that suffered the most from the impacts of the pandemic financial breathing room, time to recover, and additional tools to do so. As part of the program, grantees attended five hours of training targeted at helping them to better understand their financial situation now and in the future. Speakers from regional business assistance organizations that offer free business counseling and other services also spoke to the attendees to further connect them with ongoing tools to reinforce the businesses’ resiliency.

Direct and partner-boosted outreach for the program, along with multilingual (including Spanish and Chinese) training, resulted in high participation among San Leandro’s disadvantaged communities. Among the highlights are:

  • 32% of grantees indicated that they spoke a language other than English at home. An additional 23% were from bilingual households.
  • 84% of grantees indicated that they were from a non-White race/ethnic groups. 91% of the grant money benefited businesses of color.
  • 52% were Asian or Pacific Islander
  • 10% were Black
  • 19% were Hispanic
  • 16% were White or didn’t provide race or ethnic information
  • 3% were Other

Female grantees represented 66% of those who provided their gender information in their application. They also benefited from 61% of the grant funds.

The Recovery Grants program is a part of San Leandro’s COVID-19 recovery efforts to support businesses and help the community “keep it local” both in character and vitality. With support from the San Leandro City Council, the City allocated $750,000 of the City’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for commercial relief grants.

City technical assistance workshops also utilized Federal ARPA recovery funds. Workshops covered a range of business topics including selling to the City of San Leandro, ensuring building accessibility to avoid costly lawsuits, and safety for San Leandro businesses among others. Staff presented information on planning permits to help businesses and property owners better understand the permitting process so that they can grow and expand in San Leandro more easily.

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January 18, 2022: When the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was announced, HdL jumped into action to help agencies utilize funds for maximum ROI to better their communities. Barry Foster, HdL’s ECONSolutions Principal/Managing Director, found that many agencies needed guidance on where to begin. With so many uses for ARPA funds available, and each one equally important and urgently needed, how does a City or County decide where to allocate the funds to serve their community’s best interests? How does an agency prioritize public health assistance, lost revenue recovery, infrastructure improvements, technology improvements, small business recovery, economic development, hospitality assistance, and others? 

San Leandro HdL CompaniesThe City of San Leandro, a current HdL Business License Administration client, contacted HdL for needed support to draft their ARPA strategy and ensure programs were ARPA eligible. With HdL’s help, the City developed a robust strategy including a focus on small business recovery.  “Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. They support families, provide jobs, add culture, and improve neighborhoods. These businesses were hit the hardest by COVID-19 closures, operating restrictions, staff shortages, and many don't have access to a lot of resources” said Katie Bowman, San Leandro’s Economic Development Manager. 

The City’s ultimate goal is equitable economic recovery solutions, to help those businesses most dramatically impacted by the pandemic and provide additional resources to help them continue operating. The City also plans to provide training to improve operations, establish payment schedules, and provide additional resources outside of the ARPA grant project. “This is just step one to define character in the community,” reported Dhez Woodworth, Economic Development Specialist with the City. 

To better understand community needs, a survey was sent to all local San Leandro businesses to gage the negative impacts of the pandemic, including lost revenue and rent that was still owed. The results along with the end of the Commercial Eviction Moratorium looming, warranted further action. 

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HdL’s ECONSolutions and Business License teams worked together with City staff to create and customize a Commercial Rent Relief grant program. The City has allocated $750,000 of their ARPA funding to the program with grants of $15,000 to each qualified business with a total of 50 grants possible. HdL created custom landing pages, software applications, a pre-screen application, program application, and will continue to manage a call center for additional questions with the on-line application process.  Additional Spanish and Chinese translation services are being administered by HdL to accommodate the City’s diverse business community.

After HdL and the City finalized the project details and went live in just two months, Bowman shared, “We really appreciate the time, attention and responsiveness that was dedicated to this project by HdL, the thinking outside of the box and the new processes created on both sides. Our team is nimble, but we have limitations as a small city.  We would not have been able to maintain day-to-day operations while rolling out a project of this caliber. It’s hard to let others represent the City, but we had already created a strong relationship through HdL’s Business License services. The firm brought additional skill sets to the table that allowed the City to continue providing the services that our community expects.”

The grant program has already proven to be successful with 175 pre-screened applications received. Stay tuned for further updates.

 

Additional Resources

HdL ARPA Assistance Flyer

City of San Leandro Press Release

City of San Leandro COVID-19 Business Resources

 

 

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