‘It’s hitting us hard,’ Savannah businesses seek COVID-19 relief


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As the pandemic continues, many businesses are on the brink of closing their doors permanently. The city of Savannah is partnering with two local groups to distribute COVID-19 relief grants.

“It’s hitting us hard in all angles,” small business owner Latoya Samuels said.

Samuels founder of the service-based nonprofit Women Empowering Women of Savannah Incorporated, said she hears stories every day about the growing number of local businesses struggling to not go under.

“A lot of them have lost their jobs, so a lot of them are just reaching out for assistance in order to keep their small businesses going so they can feed their families,” Samuels added.

The SBAC is reviewing applications sent in for the city’s second round of CARES Act funding.

“They received more than 400 applications from Savannah businesses, requesting about seven million dollars in assistance,” Mayor Van Johnson said in a city update Saturday morning.

Local residents who need help with their bills also have the ability to apply for a grant.

“The deadline to apply for assistance through the United Way of the Coastal Empire has been extended. The city now has until December 31st to distribute 3.3 million dollars to those with past-due mortgage, rent, or utility bills due to the loss of income directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Johnson added.

Samuels said the process isn’t simple.

“I’m in the process of applying for that loan, and the time frame that it takes and as much information that they’re requiring, they’re making it really hard for you to even be approved for the loan, so a lot of people are even giving up in the application process,” but encouraged others to not stop trying: “There’s so many of us just trying to make it, without these businesses a lot of people aren’t eating and without funding and assistance from the government there’s just no other way for us to assist those that are in need.”

Click HERE to fill out an application for the United Way of the Coastal Empire relief grant. You can also dial 2-11 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. for more information.

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