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Lakewood Launches Additional Small Business, Resident Rent Relief Programs

The City of Lakewood is launching a second round of rent relief programs to help the community handle the financial impact of COVID-19. This time, there’s an opportunity for residents to get rental assistance, too.

About $1.5 million in federal CARES Act funding will be made available to help low- to moderate-income Lakewood residents unable to pay rent due to the pandemic.

“People are really hurting,” said Lakewood Mayor Meghan George. “They’re not receiving the additional $600 for unemployment, so the timing of rolling this out is right to get help to those that really need it.”

Payment will be sent directly to landlords and can cover rent as far back as April 1. The program is administered in partnership with Cuyahoga County by CHN Housing Partners and Lakewood Community Services Center.

The city also announced a second round of small business rent relief. Also funded by the CARES Act, another $450,000 will be available for eligible small businesses.

Local businesses are an essential part of the Lakewood community, George said.

“It’s so much of our character, so it’s really important for my administration to do everything we can to support small businesses in their time of need,” George said.

The program will cover up to $7,000 dollars of rent payments from April through August. If the rent amount does not reach that limit, businesses could be eligible to receive some payroll assistance.

The city first offered rent assistance to small businesses in March, using funds from its economic development fund to aid about 120 Lakewood businesses with a total of $187,000. Because the second round is federally funded, George said, it comes with different eligibility requirements.

Businesses eligible for the second round must have five or fewer employees, including the business owner. The previous grants included businesses with up to 50 employees.

In addition to the staffing requirement, businesses must be physically located in Lakewood, in good standing with the city and established as of Jan. 1, 2020 or earlier. They also need to meet income eligibility criteria established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Home-based businesses are not eligible.

“I do expect there to be a lot that apply, and we’ll be able to assist a lot of small businesses through this program,” George said.

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