Lincoln Heights -- Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Wednesday that the city will reassess previously denied applications from local businesses for an $11 million micro loan economic relief program that had reportedly approved only a fraction of applicants.
Garcetti said he instructed the Economic and Workforce Development Department to to make it easier for companies to receive funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the applications will be assessed based on new eligibility standards, so that money can get to companies more quickly.
The Los Feliz Ledger earlier this month reported that only 16% of 23,000 micro-loan applications had been processed and only 3% had been approved in a cumbersome and time-consuming process.
Garcetti announced the changes in Lincoln Heights outside of Caveman Vintage Music, which has received a $20,000 micro loan.
"The micro loan has eased the temporary pain that came from my storefront being closed during the months of March, April and May," said owner Eric Stollsteimer said. "We are extremely happy now to be open for curbside pickup, allowing us to continue to provide music and musical instruments to the Los Angeles music community that we love so much."
Garcetti in a Facebook video said the music store is one of 149 that will receive micro loans, with "hundreds more to come."
"We will survive this crisis, and my administration will do everything possible to help businesses start getting back on their feet while we fight to save lives and rebuild the economy," Garcetti said. "These funds can make a real difference and I want them to get out more quickly to more businesses."
"Additionally, I've expanded the team that is charged with processing these (applications) so they will be processed even more quickly, and I'm working with the City Council to see whether we can infuse more dollars into that $11 million," the mayor said.
Garcetti last week modified the Safe at Home emergency order to allow retail businesses to resume limited operations with delivery and curbside service.
According to the micro loan program website, there are several options for loans between $5,000 and $20,000 with interest rates of 0% for a term of up to 18 months with repayment deferred for up to six months; 3% for a term of up to five years with repayment deferred for up to 12 months (for profit businesses); and 2% for a term of up to five years with repayment deferred for up to 12 months (for tax-exempt businesses).
There are no application fees nor penalties to be assessed for repayment.
Go here for details about the micro loan program.