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Lakewood Offering Grants For Small Businesses Struggling To Pay Rent

Lakewood is offering relief for small businesses in financial trouble due to the coronavirus, creating a fund to cover rent costs for the next month.

The fund has grants of up to $3,000 to help with rental costs. The money will come from the city’s economic development fund, or in the form of a community development block grant in cases where the business owner’s income is 85 percent or less of the median income for Lakewood.

To qualify, a business must be locally owned, operate a storefront in the city and employ 50 or fewer people.

For now, the program will only cover one month of rent, said Lakewood Mayor Meghan George, though the city may reevaluate later on.

“Hopefully there’s some additional support coming from state and from federal agencies,” George said. “But right now, this is to help them in the immediate future.”

More than 100 businesses have applied for the program since it was announced earlier this week, George said.

“Time is of the essence,” she said. “Rent payments are becoming due, so we want to get them those funds so they can pay their rent for the upcoming month.”

Lakewood has also formed a task force with local leaders and business owners to discuss other ways to provide assistance during the pandemic.

Options for assisting residents experiencing financial difficulty due to the pandemic are also being considered, George said.

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