SAN LEANDRO (CBS SF/BCN) – The city of San Leandro announced a new program Monday that will provide $750,000 in grants to small businesses to help pay back rent owed as a result of the pandemic.

The San Leandro Small Business Recovery Grant Program is aimed at local businesses hit hard by COVID-19 and struggling to get financial assistance.

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The city will offer training and ongoing services for businesses to continue operations and grow beyond the pandemic. The program seeks to help the community “keep it local, both in character and vitality,” the city said in a press release.

The San Leandro City Council allocated the $750,000 from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for small business assistance. The city estimates 50 small businesses will receive grants of up to $15,000 each, paid to their landlords to cover overdue rent accrued since the pandemic’s onset.

Eligible businesses must be incorporated in San Leandro. The program is aimed at brick-and-mortar, for-profit businesses, in operation since before March 16, 2020, with 25 or fewer employees, and that lease or rent commercial property directly from a landlord.

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The city wants to help businesses that were forced to shut down or have limited operations for an extensive period during 2020, experienced a significant loss of revenue, a reduction in workforce, and that received little to no financial assistance during the pandemic.

All small businesses are encouraged to apply if they think they might qualify.

Initial applications are due Jan. 11, 2022. Information about the grant program can be found on the city’s website.

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