As the spread and impact of COVID-19 is still an unknown, the EDC recommends businesses, self-employed individuals, and nonprofits to take the following action steps:
EDC hosts webinars every week on resources and assistance now available for employers, self-employed individuals and employees under the CARES Act. Webinars are held in English and Spanish. Space is limited. Please register in advance.
The Economic Development Collaborative has compiled a list of resources now available for Businesses, Self Employed Individuals and Nonprofits who have been impacted by COVID-19.
CA SMALL BUSINESS COVID-19 RELIEF GRANT PROGRAM
Round 6, opening April 28 at 9:00 am and closing May 4 at 5:00 pm, will be accepting new applications from businesses and nonprofits that have not applied to previous rounds. Waitlisted applicants from previous rounds will be automatically rolled over. Nonprofits that only applied during Round 4- The Arts & Cultural Program, can also apply to Round 6 if they meet the eligibility criteria. For detailed information about the program, eligibility, application process and more, please click here.
SHUTTERED VENUE OPERATOR GRANT (SVOG)
Due to technical difficulties, SBA has temporarily suspended the SVOG application portal. The SBA will share advance notice of the time and date before the reopening so all applicants can be prepared and to ensure equitable access. For now, applicants may continue to register for a new account. To access the application portal click here.
The Shuttered Venue Operator Grant, administered by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance, offers grants for live venue operators, performing arts organizations, motion picture theater operators, cultural institutions and other eligible applicants. SVOG funding does not need to be repaid and can be used for specific expenses, such as payroll, rent, utilities and other costs. Please review the SBA’s extensive Frequently Asked Questions document here.
To receive a SVOG or access any federal government grants, your business will need to register for a free System for Award Management (SAM) number. Steps:
RESTAURANT REVITALIZATION FUND (RRF)
The new American Rescue Plan Act established a $28.6 billion “Restaurant Revitalization Fund” (RRF) within the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). An eligible business may receive a tax-free federal grant equal to the amount of its pandemic-related revenue loss, calculated by subtracting its 2020 gross receipts from its 2019 gross receipts. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is NOT yet accepting applications. For more information on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund review the Fund Fact Sheet click here.
VENTURA COUNTY SECOND COVID-19 BUSINESS ASSISTANCE GRANT PROGRAM
The County of Ventura is launching a second COVID-19 Business Assistance Grant Program for businesses and nonprofit organizations that did not receive a grant during the County’s first program in 2020. A $5,000 grant will be awarded to selected organizations that meet the eligibility requirements. Pre-registration begins March 24, 2021 and allows applicants to upload all required supporting documents early. The formal application window is from March 31 at 8:00 am to April 13 at 6:00 pm. Learn more about the program, eligibility criteria, required documentation and more here.
COUNTY OF SANTA BARBARA RENTAL AND UTILITY GRANTS
Starting February 16, 2021, the County of Santa Barbara will be offering Emergency Rental & Utility Assistance through United Way of Santa Barbara County to eligible County of Santa Barbara residents that have experienced a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and can demonstrate the need for rental support. Applicants may receive up to $6,000 over 3 months toward rental and utility expenses and can re-apply every 3 months up to maximum of 15 months. There are strict eligibility requirements for this funding opportunity. Please review all eligibility and documentation requirements here. To apply click here.
COVID-19 JOINT RESPONSE EFFORT FOR SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
The Santa Barbara Foundation, United Way of Santa Barbara County, and Hutton Parker Foundation are leading a countywide collaborative with members of the Foundation Roundtable to provide assistance to individuals and families that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, as well as organizations actively engaged in assistance efforts for members of the community affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. If your organization applied to the COVID-19 Response Grant cycle in the past, you are still eligible to submit an application. Learn more here.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR CITY OF GOLETA RESIDENTS
In an effort to support the COVID-19 relief efforts of the City of Goleta, United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has partnered with the City of Goleta to award assistance grants to City of Goleta residents of up to $1,000 for individuals and up to $2,000 for families who are experiencing hardship related to the COVID-19 crisis (e.g. business closures, social distancing ordinances). Review eligibility criteria here and apply here.
EDC DISASTER BRIDGE LOAN FUND
In addition to our traditional EDC loan funds, EDC is offering 4.25% interest loans from $5,000- $50,000 and a 48 month term through our Disaster Bridge Loan Fund to give a cash flow boost to businesses impacted by reduced sales, supply chain disruption or other challenges related to COVID-19. Email email@example.com for more information.
WOMEN’S ECONOMIC VENTURES (WEV) RESTART LOAN
WEV’S Restart Loan provides capital to Santa Barbara County and Ventura County businesses who are now open or eligible to open under the most current government orders. Visit WEV’s website for more information.
SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS (EIDL)
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Applicants may apply online. Applicants may also call 800.659.2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call 800.877.8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP)
The Paycheck Protection Program re-opened the week of January 11, 2021 and loans will be available through May 31, 2021 or until all allocated funds are exhausted. New regulations have created retroactive changes to PPP loans borrowed in 2020 and outlined guidelines for first and second draw loans in 2021.For more information about the updated tax information, expanded expense eligibility and simplified forgiveness application for existing PPP loans, guidelines for new borrowers and borrowers interested in applying for a second draw loan or an increase to their first PPP loan please review our detailed guide PPP Updates 1-14-2021.
If you have received a PPP loan, please work with your lender to process your Paycheck Protection Loan Forgiveness Application.
Self-employed, business owners with no employees, contractors, free lancers, gig economy workers and sole proprietors- Did you know you are eligible for PPP? Review our EDC Guide to PPP for Sole Proprietors for more information.
CALIFORNIA REBUILDING FUND
The California Rebuilding Fund is a loan program to support California’s small businesses- especially those located in economically disadvantaged and historically under-banked areas of the state. The loans are flexible, transparent and are designed to help businesses access the capital and advisory services they need to get through these challenging economic times. Businesses who employed 50 or less full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) and had gross revenues of less than $2.5 million or below in 2019 are eligible to apply. To fill out a pre-application and match with a participating community lender click here.
EMPLOYEE RETENTION TAX CREDIT
The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, enacted December 27, 2020, made a number of changes to the employee retention tax credits previously made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), including modifying and extending the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), for six months through June 30, 2021. As a result of the new legislation, eligible employers can now claim a refundable tax credit against the employer share of Social Security tax equal to 70% of the qualified wages they pay to employees after December 31, 2020, through June 30, 2021. For more information please visit the IRS website here.
WORKER OPPORTUNITY TAX CREDIT
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain targeted groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment, including qualified long-term unemployment recipients. Qualified tax-exempt organizations will claim the credit on Form 5884-C, Work Opportunity Credit for Qualified Tax-Exempt Organizations Hiring Qualified Veterans, as a credit against the employer’s share of Social Security tax. The Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2021 authorized the extension of WOTC until December 31, 2025. For more information and to review the targeted groups click here.
SOCIAL SECURITY EMPLOYEE AND EMPLOYER PORTION DEFERRAL
The Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) allowed employers to defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security taxes and self-employed individuals to defer payment of certain self-employment taxes from March 27, 2020 to December 31, 2020. The deferred deposits of the employer’s share of Social Security Tax must be deposited on December 31, 2021 (50% of the eligible deferred amount) and on December 31, 2022 (the remaining amount). Review more information and frequently asked questions on the IRS website click here.
SALES AND USE TAX EXTENSION TO FILE AND PAY
California businesses will experience immediate relief in the form of tax deferrals. Small businesses are encouraged to use the sale tax they have already collected to float any applicable obligations. The tax extension is based on sales made and sales tax collected as follows: Provides an automatic three-month extension for taxpayers filing less than $1 million in sales tax on the return; Extend the availability existing interest and penalty free payment agreements to companies with up to $5 million in taxable sales. Note- businesses in this category must fill out an online form; Broaden opportunities for more businesses to enter into interest-free payment arrangements; and Expand interest-free payment options for larger businesses particularly affected by significant restrictions on operations based on COVID-19 transmissions. For a full schedule of program and tax due dates click here.
The Employment Development Department (EDD) recently released the following documents to help individuals understand the current unemployment benefits available.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE (UI) BENEFITS
Unemployment benefits are available for self-employed individuals and employees. If you have lost hours or wages due to the impact of COVID-19 apply for unemployment with the EDD here.
PANDEMIC ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION
An additional $300 federal stimulus payment automatically added to each week of benefits received from March 14, 2021, through September 4, 2021 (29 weeks). The EDD will automatically add the federal unemployment compensations to each week of benefits that you are eligible to receive. Pandemic Additional Compensation is also known as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). For more information click here.
PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE (PUA)
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is for unemployed Californians who are not usually eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, including business owners, self-employed workers, independent contractors or those with a limited work history who are out of business or have significantly reduced their services as a direct result of the pandemic. The American Rescue Plan extended PUA for an additional 29 weeks of benefits from March 14, 2021 to September 4, 2021. For more information click here.
PANDEMIC EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION (PEUC)
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), for those who have exhausted their regular unemployment compensation benefits, is extended until September 4, 2021. For more information click here.
EDD WORKSHARE PROGRAM
The EDD Workshare Program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs – retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with UI benefits. Visit the Work Sharing Program website here to learn more about its benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply. Note: Nonprofits are not eligible to participate in EDD Workshare.
PAID FAMILY LEAVE
The extension to mandatory paid family medical leave through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) expired on December 31, 2020. For more information visit the Department of Labor’s website here. Visit the FFCRA Questions and Answers page to learn more about workers’ and employers’ rights and responsibilities after December 31, 2020 here.
SUPPLEMENTAL PAID SICK LEAVE (CA-SPSL)
California law SB-95, signed March 19, 2021, revived and expanded the COVID-19 related supplemental paid sick leave law that had previously expired on December 31, 2021. The law became effective immediately once signed, with a 10-day grace period for compliance, and it applies retroactively to January 1, 2021 (thereby requiring back payments). The new law is set to expire September 30, 2021. Please review the following important updates:
Learn more about all of these changes, how the new CA-SPSL interacts with other paid sick leave and an exhaustive list of Frequently Asked Questions form the Department of Industrial Relations here. Access the required poster to be included in the workplace or distributed to remote employees here.
If you are looking for transitional housing or are on the verge of homelessness please see SOCIAL SERVICES below for additional resources.
View our EDC Guide for Advisors, Tenants and Landlords During COVID-19 for immediate recommended actions, negotiation strategies and resources for residential and commercial renters.
EVICTION MORATORIUM FOR RESIDENTIAL RENTERS
The COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act (SB 91) took effect on February 1, 2021, extending and expanding the protections created by the Tenant, Homeowner, and Small Landlord Relief and Stabilization Act of 2020 (AB 3088). SB 91 extends the moratorium against evictions to June 30, 2021, extends the protections of “no cause” evictions, and makes financial assistance available to financially distressed qualifying landlords and tenants. Neither AB 3088 nor SB 91 eliminate the tenant’s obligation to pay their unpaid rent. Please continue to communicate with your landlord and provide your landlord a signed Declaration of COVID-19 Related Financial Distress (ENGLISH or SPANISH) on a monthly basis. For more information and resources click here.
EVICTION PROTECTIONS EXTENDED FOR COMMERCIAL RENTERS
On March 4, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-03-21. The Order extends authorization for local governments to halt evictions for commercial renters impacted by COVID-19 through June 30, 2021. The additional protection is not automatic, however. Commercial landlords and tenants will have to wait and see if local governments in Ventura County, Santa Barbara County or surrounding areas enact or extend the protections authorized by the Order.
CALIFORNIA COVID-19 RENT RELIEF PROGRAM
If you’re an income eligible renter who has experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19 and have past due rent, or you’re a landlord who has experienced a loss in income because of unpaid rent, you may be eligible to get financial assistance now through the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program. The program is not first come first served, rather priority will be given to those households with the greatest risk of being evicted. Renters and landlords can determine eligibility and apply for funds directly at HousingIsKey.com or call 833.430.2122. Read our recent EDC Business Alert on this program click here.
Foreclosure protection is available for homeowners or small landlords who have federally-backed mortgages through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Homeowners or small landlords who do not have federally-backed loans can contact their loan servicers to request forbearance. Your lender must provide detailed reasons if they deny your forbearance request. You can contest a denial. Find out more about mortgage help and how to get it.
For additional information on currently available county-based grants, please review the GRANT OPPORTUNITIES section above.
Homeless Prevention for Ventura County: Call 805.385.1800 and leave a detailed message of your situation. Learn more about Ventura County’s Homelessness Prevention & Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) here.
211 VENTURA COUNTY
211 Ventura County is the comprehensive information and referral service for Ventura County, connecting over 30,000 callers and texters each year with information about health and human services available to them. 211 Ventura County phone and text service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in 150 languages through phone interpretation services. If calling from a local land line, dial 211. If calling from a cellular phone, dial 800.339.9597 or text your zip code to 898.211. Visit their website to learn more about resources for housing, mental health, income and legal assistance click here.
Wellness Everyday provides guidance and mental health resources in English and Spanish for individuals and families that are struggling to cope with the ongoing effects of trauma and COVID-19. Find local resources and guides for children, teens and adults on a variety of topics to support mental, physical and social wellbeing on their website here.
HOUSING RIGHTS CENTER
The Housing Rights Center is a private nonprofit organization that is contracted with the County of Ventura to provide Fair Housing Services. Their services include free landlord/tenant counseling, housing discrimination investigation and education on fair housing laws. To connect with the Housing Rights Center call 805.477.5977 and visit their website here.
Homeless Prevention for Santa Barbara County: Call 805.450.3558 or visit Northern Santa Barbara County United Way’s website to view walk-in resource centers here.
211 SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
211 Santa Barbara is a comprehensive information and referral system connecting people quickly and effectively to health and human services, disaster relief and public information. The helpline is available in150 languages, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost to the caller. If calling from a local land line, dial 211. If calling from a cellular phone, dial 800.400.1572. Visit their website to learn more about resources for housing, mental health, income and legal assistance click here.
SANTA BARBARA RESPONSE NETWORK
The Santa Barbara Response Network (SBRN) is a grassroots, non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to supporting fellow community members’ through traumatic experiences and toward resilient recovery. Their trained volunteers offer services such as psychological first aid (PFA), stress management, education about short-term coping and long-term wellness behaviors, and referrals to local agencies for continued care. To learn more click here.
The State of California has outlined the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Ventura County businesses that have been identified as eligible to reopen, must meet county and state health and safety compliance protocols. For more information regarding state and county health and safety protocols, industry-specific worksite plan templates, and outlined steps to reopen visit VC Reopens or visit the FAQ’s page. For questions related to business reopening call the COVID-19 Business Compliance Hotline at 805.202.1805 or email email@example.com.
The State of California has outlined the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Santa Barbara County has outlined detailed information in consideration of the State of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Be sure to diligently confirm all steps required to reopen your business safely. For more information please click here for all reopening requirements, industry specific guidance and worksite prevention plans. For questions related to business reopening call 833.688.5551 or email EHSadmin@sbcphd.org.
EDC encourages all individuals to review local, state and federal guidelines to remain in compliance with health and safety protocols during this time.
The Ventura County Public Health Department has issued public health and safety orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Please visit Ventura County Recovers to view all current safety orders.
Santa Barbara Public Health Department has issued public health and safety orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Please visit the Santa Barbara Public Health Information Portal to view all current safety orders.
As partners in business assistance, EDC recommends the following organizations dedicated to support businesses in recovery.
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) serves as the State of California’s leader for job growth, economic development and business assistance efforts. They offer no cost consultation for incentive identification, site selection, regulatory or permitting compliance assistance, foreign direct investment and export assistance. For more information please visit the GO-Biz website.
Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) offers short-term and long-term business consulting to assist businesses with recovering from Covid, improve QuickBooks understanding and pivot their business. Free business-related webinars are regularly held in English and Spanish. For more information please visit WEV’s website.
For over 50 years, SCORE has served as America’s premier source of free business mentoring and education. As a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops and educational resources since 1964. For more information please visit SCORE Ventura County or SCORE Santa Barbara County.