Los Angeles County launches program to pay overdue rents

Restaurants and other small businesses in unincorporated areas can apply for grants of up to $40,000.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Restaurants in most areas of Los Angeles County will be able to apply for grants of up to $40,000 in rent assistance under a new small-business aid program that begins Nov. 17.

The program, a collaboration between the county and the National Development Council, is open to businesses that:

  • Have annual revenues of no more than $1 million;
  • Are at least $5,000 in arrears on their rent;
  • Were operating for at least 24 months prior to June 22, 2019;
  • Are located in one of the county’s 88 unincorporated municipalities, which cover 65% of the region;
  • Have lost at least 25% of their gross revenues over a 12-month period since the county declared the pandemic a local emergency; and
  • Have not received aid from other relief programs funded by the American Rescue Plan, the federal legislation that created the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and re-upped the Paycheck Protection Program with $7.5 billion back in March.

The  National Development Council is providing the $7.5 million in funding, which was channeled to the nonprofit by the American Rescue Plan.

The Los Angeles County Small Business Rent Relief program is the latest example of a local government looking to help its small businesses in the absence of any new aid program from the federal government. A number of the newer programs aim to provide rent assistance, since the money helps landlords as well as their tenants.

Washington, D.C., has earmarked funds to cover up to one-third of a restaurant or other small business’ overdue rent. The program is slated to begin this fall.

In Boston, restaurants and other small businesses with fewer than 25 employees were offered relief grants of up to $10,000 this fall. The money could be used for a variety of purposes, including back rent. Restaurants were given priority in the allocation of the funds.

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