Miami is doing right by its people during these unprecedented times. City government officials have agreed to distribute $8.55 million in two COVID-19 relief programs to financially assist small businesses and help families put food on the table by buying groceries.
Wednesday morning, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez called for a special commission meeting to go over the best ways to send out the funds—which will be reimbursed by Miami-Dade County’s federal CARES Act dollars, the Miami Herald reports.
The funds fall under specific federal rules that state the money must be spent by December 31.
Miami’s Department of Human Services will oversee the program to allocate $3.55 million to residents within the Miami City limits. The program purchased roughly 14,000 grocery gift cards with a purchase amount of $250 each. Individuals will have to prove they live within the city limits by showing a state-issued ID and sign an affidavit that asserts the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted them. The cards will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
The decision to greenlight the program was unanimously approved by the commissioners, who also voted in favor of the additional $ 5million that will be administered by the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development to the area’s small businesses. Businesses that have earned $1 million or less will be eligible for the city’s grants.
Businesses could receive up to $20,000 or 20% of what they earned the prior year in annual gross revenue; however, the amount given will be the lesser of the two. The money is said to help cover the expenses of running the business.
The funds must be exhausted within 25 days; if not, the city will move the revenue threshold up to $2 million. Business owners have to show documentation of the location of the business, as well as proof of loss of income. Applicants also have to state they have not used other federal funding to cover the cost of their expenses and agree to an audit of their use of the grant proceeds.
Nonprofits are also eligible to receive the grants.
“We only have six weeks or so to get this money out,” City Manager Art Noriega said.