applications open now for City of Berkeley COVID-19 relief funds

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Office of Economic Development: Supporting Berkeley Businesses

Our mission is to assist businesses, entrepreneurs, artists, and community
organizations to access services, feel welcome in Berkeley, and thrive.

Updates from the Office of Economic Development (OED)

City of Berkeley opens grant applications to support residents and businesses facing  COVID-19 hardships

Berkeley’s low-income renters, arts organizations, small businesses, and other non-profit organizations can apply now for emergency relief funds to help them withstand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Berkeley has committed $3 million to these emergency relief grants. Additional funding, made possible by charitable contributions from individuals and businesses to the Berkeley Relief Fund, will also be available to grant applicants.

Apply now (see links below) or donate to the Berkeley Relief Fund here.

Housing Retention Grants

Low-income Berkeley residents who are unable to pay their rent or meet other basic needs due to the COVID-19 emergency are eligible to apply for housing retention grants of up to $10,000. 

This grant program is intended to prevent homelessness for Berkeley residents. Funds may be used to supplement rent for temporary or permanent housing, utility bills, or other housing-related expenses. Applicants will be required to submit documentation of their low-income status, rental agreement or lease, and other relevant information.

Learn more about eligibility requirements and apply here

Small Business Continuity Grants

Grants of up to $10,000 are available to Berkeley-based small businesses and nonprofits to enable continuity through or beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligibility for this program is open to all businesses and nonprofits with a business license in Berkeley as of March 1, 2020 that have at least one and no more than 50 employees and that can demonstrate that their revenues have decreased by at least 25% due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funds must be used to cover payroll, rent, or working capital for the business to cover operational expenses.

Applications for will be accepted today (Monday, March 30) through next Monday, April 6 at 5pm (PDT).

Apply now for a Small Business Continuity Grant.

Arts Organization Continuity Grants

Grants of up to $25,000 are available to Berkeley-based nonprofit arts organizations to help stabilize these organizations as they grapple with the initial financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligibility for this program is open to all nonprofit arts organizations located in the City of Berkeley that have been in operation in Berkeley for no less than one year, and that can demonstrate that their earned revenues have decreased by at least 25% due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications will be accepted and considered on a rolling basis beginning today (Monday, March 30) through Monday, April 20, 2020 at 5PM (PDT).

Apply now for an Arts Organizations Continuity Grant.

Federal relief package

The $2 trillion federal assistance package adopted on Friday, the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security” (CARES) Act, is the largest single injection of federal cash into the economy in U.S. history. It includes nearly $350 billion in forgivable loans for qualified small businesses (generally <500 employees), industry-specific lending, tax credits for retaining workers, payroll tax extensions, additional business tax deductions, deferred tax deadlines for the self-employed, expanded unemployment benefits (including for self-employed consultants, gig workers or independent contractors) -- and other forms of individual relief and assistance.

Check out the Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act on the U.S. Senate website now to learn more. OED will also keep you informed on how to access relevant programs in upcoming newsletters.

Still open for essential business?

Let the Community Know!

Complete the Berkeley Chamber's Open Businesses Google sheet where you can list your essential business and specify how you are continuing operations. Filling this out will help OED’s business network partners to promote your business. For example, see Visit Berkeley's Food & Drinks To-Go website and Neighborhood Guides which show essential businesses that are open.

Looking for other sources of capital? Seeking direct business assistance?

The City of Berkeley's clearinghouse of information for businesses and the Berkeley Chamber’s COVID-19 Resources page provide Berkeley business-specific resources and info related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of resources include forgivable loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, loans from the Small Business Rebuild Program by SMBX (Small Medium Business Exchange) with funding made possible from local investors, free advising from the Alameda County Small Business Development Center, and Resources for Employers from the Alameda County Workforce Development Board.

Upcoming Events

Chamber Berkeley Business Forums

TOMORROW, Tuesday, March 31
10:30 - 11:30 AM
Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 341 399 8008
Find your local number:

Berkeley Chamber's Berkeley Business Digital Forums take place weekly on Tuesdays at 10:30am. The forum provides an opportunity for business and community leaders to ask questions, share best practices, and connect with peers.

Quick Links

City of Berkeley - COVID:19 Support for businesses and the arts community

City of Berkeley - Overall Coronavirus page

Berkeley Chamber COVID-19 Resource page

State of CA Overall COVID-19 site

Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development - COVID-19 Resources

US SBA Loans 

Office of Economic Development

2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
TEL: (510) 981-7530 
TDD: (510) 981-6903 
FAX: (510) 981-7099

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