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On June 2, 2020, the Tustin City Council unanimously voted to approve the Tustin $3 Million CARES Program. The Tustin “Covid-19 Aid, Relief, and Economic Security” (CARES) Program will provide $3 Million of emergency aid to small businesses and individuals or families in need of food and/or housing/rental assistance resulting from the economic impact associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. Components of the Tustin CARES Program includes, but are not limited to the following initiatives:
• Small Business Grants
• Facilitation of Guidelines for Temporary Outdoor Dining, Retail and Assembly Uses
• Rental and Housing/Utility Assistance (homeless prevention)
• Meal Assistance/Distribution
“The Tustin CARES Program is an amazing opportunity for the City to help those in our community who have been negatively affected by the unprecedented economic conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Dr. Allan Bernstein. “We are Tustin Strong, and we will get through this together.”
Funding for the Tustin CARES Program is comprised of multiple restricted funds, such as Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Community Development Block Grant-Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) and includes an allocation from the County’s CARES ACT, and is expected to be released in three parts. The initial funding breakdown for these initiatives will be approximately 75% for small business assistance and grants, and 25% for rental/housing/utility assistance and meal distributions.
Small Business Grants
The Tustin Small Business Emergency Grant Program, which will provide funding to small businesses needing financial assistance in overcoming the temporary loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The program is based on the availability of funds, program guidelines and submission of all required information and supporting documentation. Small businesses with 20 or less employees (full or part time) may be eligible to receive a grant of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000). The grant may be used for working capital to cover the day-today business operating expenses such as payroll expenses, rent/lease payments, mortgage payments, utility expenses, inventory or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of operations.
Facilitation of Outdoor Dining, Retail and Assembly Uses
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide criteria during the COVID-19 pandemic to facilitate outdoor use of private property and/or within the public right-of-way while protecting the public interest. These guidelines, which may be amended at any time, apply to outdoor dining, retail sales and assembly uses associated with an existing entity. Such locations include, but may not be limited to:
• Alleyways (when not used for emergency or vehicle traffic)
• Parking lots
Rent/Housing Assistance and Food Distribution
The general purpose of this initiative is to provide homelessness prevention support such as rental/housing assistance and food distribution to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 in partnership with non-profit resource organizations (e.g. Families Forward and Meals on Wheels) who are already providing these types of services throughout Orange County and within Tustin so they can better serve the increased service demands that have arisen due to impacts from COVID-19. Rent/Housing assistance is intended to support those at-risk of homelessness to secure or maintain stable housing. Typically, this is in the form of one-time, or short term, financial assistance in addition to resource connection, supportive services, and program referrals to facilitate long term self-sufficiency. Food distribution and meal assistance is intended to supplement existing service providers who have seen unprecedented increases in service requests. This will likely focus on the senior and Covid-19 vulnerable populations but may also include children and families.
For more information on the Small Business Emergency Grant program, please visit Small Business Emergency Grant Program or call the Tustin Economic Development Department at (714) 573-3117. For more information regarding the other Tustin CARES initiatives, please visit Tustin CARES Initiatives or call the Tustin Community Development Department at (714) 573-3354.