Owners could qualify for up to $15,000
DEARBORN — Owners of small businesses in Dearborn who have had financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are invited to take another look at the grants offered through the city of Dearborn.
In response to concerns raised earlier by businesses about the number and complexity of the documents required for the application, the city streamlined the process by allowing owners to submit information they may have easier access to.
When reviewing the applications, the city must still follow the rules established by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is funding the grants. That requirement has not changed, but under the city’s changes implemented March 18, the process should be less difficult for qualified business owners seeking financial relief.
The terms of the grants stay the same: Owners can apply to receive up to $15,000 for specific business expenses, and the money will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. About $1.3 million is available.
Called the Small Business Grant program, it is spearheaded by the Dearborn Economic and Community Development Department, with direction from Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. Detailed information and the application, which must be submitted online, can be found at www.cityofdearborn.org/SBGCovid
“We heard from the business community that the grant application was perceived as burdensome, so we acted to revise the process,” O’Reilly said. “We must still follow federal rules, but we are doing what we can within our control to reduce the time and effort needed to apply.”
Federally-funded, the program is designed to cover specific costs incurred by Dearborn business for up to six consecutive months. Applicants must also provide a statement about the negative impact COVID-19 has had on their business.
The maximum grant for a low-moderate income microenterprise is $5,000. An LMI microenterprise is a business with five or fewer employees, including the owner, who must be LMI. The maximum grant for other small businesses is $15,000. A small business is considered to be any business with six to 50 employees.
The grant amount depends upon the demonstrated cost of monthly expenses times six (because it covers six months). Businesses do not have to repay awarded funds.
Funds may be used to make up to six months of direct payments to service providers, such as for the following:
• Commercial rent, lease, or mortgage.
• Utilities costs, such as electricity, gas, and water for up to six months.
• Business liability insurance.
• Fees to a food delivery service such as DoorDash or GrubHub.
Small businesses must create or retain at least one permanent job, and if more than one job is created or retained, at least 51 percent must be held by LMI people. Microenterprises are not required to retain or create a job under the grant guidelines.
New list of documents to be submitted
As of March 18, the documents that must be submitted with the application are as follows:
• Business Certificate of Occupancy.
• Filed 2019 Business U.S. 1120-S Income Tax Return for an S Corporation.
• Completed 2020 Business U.S. 1120-S Income Tax Return for an S Corporation.
• Three consecutive months of 2019 bank statements.
• Six consecutive months of the most recent bank statements.
• Proof of most recent 2020 employer’s quarterly tax payments.
• Three consecutive months of 2019 payroll statements for each employee and each pay period.
• Three consecutive months of most recent payroll statements for each employee and each pay period.
• Copy of lease/rental agreement, or mortgage, for your commercial premises in Dearborn if you are seeking SBG assistance for lease/rent/mortgage.
• Copy of lease, rent, or mortgage statement/invoice if applying for related assistance.
• Copy of bills for utilities for which you seek SBG assistance.
• Copy of business liability insurance for which you seek SBG assistance.
• Copy of delivery service fee invoice statement for which you seek SBG assistance.
• Only if you are an LMI owner of a micro enterprise: Provide your most recent personal tax return.
O’Reilly said owners should review the application and pursue the grant money if they fall within the qualified categories.
“We know our business owners need help, and we are here to be a resource,” he said.
For answers to specific questions about the grants, business owners should contact the city at [email protected].