Honolulu is allocating at least $25 million of its federal aid money to grants for small “mom and pop” businesses on the island, Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced on Tuesday.

Businesses on Oahu that have 30 or fewer employees or revenues of less than $1 million annually are eligible for grants up to $10,000 if they have a commercial address.

The funds will be issued on a reimbursement basis and can be spent on rent, utilities and personnel costs. They can also cover costs incurred to modify businesses for social distancing, such as dividers between cash registers.

Applications for the “Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund” open Monday, May 18. The funds will be administered through island credit unions. The administrators will receive a 2.5% administrative fee, which is low for work of this kind, according to Ed Hawkins, the director of Honolulu’s economic development office. The Paycheck Protection Program, for instance, paid lenders a 5% fee for processing loans.

Recipients do not need to be a member of a credit union to receive assistance. Funds should be distributed within five to seven days, Hawkins said.

Honolulu received $387 million through the federal CARES Act. Last week, the mayor announced that $25 million of that will assist individuals who are struggling financially because of the pandemic. Allocations for both the individual and business aid programs may be doubled if all goes well, Caldwell said, for a total of $100 million. The mayor said 30% of the federal relief funds are earmarked for first responders.

For more information and to apply next week, visit OneOahu.org.


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