In April of 2020, as the COVID-19 virus raged across the nation, and cities and businesses shut down due to various lockdown orders, the City of Hallandale Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (HBCRA) created the $500,000 Coronavirus Small Business Sustainability and Recovery Loan Program for businesses within the Community Redevelopment Area (CRA).
The program was comprised of two separate loans: The Business Employment Bridge Loan, which provided a potentially forgivable bridge loan in the amount of $50,000 to businesses in order for them to maintain and/or rehire at-risk employees, and The Emergency Business Cash Infusion Loan, which provided a $15,000 loan for businesses.
With the specter of a collapse of the City’s local economy in mind, and a possible increase in slum and blighted conditions, the HBCRA’s small business assistance loan programs were designed to work in conjunction with the Federal Governments CARES Act Program, and other economic disaster-related programming, as well as the State of Florida’s economic disaster-related programming.
The HBCRA received approximately 70 applications for funding, and after an in-depth application process, approved 24 loans.
In Fall of 2020, the City of Hallandale Beach, through Broward County acting as an intermediary, received an allocation of funding from the CARES Act, which could be used to reimburse the HBCRA for the funds spent working to provide loans to save its local businesses.
It was determined that through the CARES Act funding, approximately 17 businesses were eligible to receive full loan forgiveness. This amounted to $234,000.
However, loans received by the seven remaining businesses that did not qualify for the CARES funding reimbursement program are also being forgiven by the HBCRA Board of Directors based on the recommendation of the Executive Director, Dr. Jeremy Earle.
The forgiveness of the loans came at an opportune time for the businesses, as many of their loans were coming due for repayment, and many had already asked for extensions on making payments, because they were still in serious financial distress due to the pandemic.
“We are happy that our agency was able to step in and provide the emergency financial assistance our businesses so desperately needed at the start of the pandemic. This collaboration with Broward County takes it a step further by alleviating the burden of loan repayment from our businesses. They can now focus on the continuity and sustainability of their operations”, says Dr. Jeremy Earle, Interim City Manager & Executive CRA Director.