SLO County to offer grants for small businesses and child care centers


Hard-hit small businesses and child care centers in unincorporated San Luis Obispo County will soon be eligible for new grants under a local program approved by the SLO County Board of Supervisors.
NEW AID SLO County is setting aside $55,000 for a new grant program to help local child care centers. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • NEW AID SLO County is setting aside $55,000 for a new grant program to help local child care centers.

On March 2, supervisors signed off on a $230,000 package that pulls from the county general fund—allocating $50,000 for small businesses, $55,000 for child care centers, and $125,000 for public outreach and marketing.

The microgrants will target businesses located in unincorporated communities where COVID-19 financial relief has been harder to come by, according to 3rd District Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg and 1st District Supervisor John Peschong, who partnered on a board subcommittee to formulate the program.

“It’s really for the type of little businesses that probably will have a harder time meeting some of the larger grant requirements,” Ortiz-Legg told New Times.

More details on the grant application process are forthcoming, but SLO County said it will tap the SLO County Workforce Development Board for administration. The Development Board ran a prior COVID-19 grant program that saved 120 local jobs, Ortiz-Legg said.

“They already have a system and infrastructure in place,” she said.

In addition to the grants, SLO County is also revamping its and websites to consolidate and better advertise the various pandemic-related financial resources that are available.

Ortiz-Legg said that public confusion around how to obtain COVID-19 aid has been “one of the biggest pain points” for the community.

“We’re trying to do a cleanup job, if you will, of positioning all the various federal, state, and local resources for businesses and individuals,” she said.

When asked why SLO County is investing less money into local business grants than cities like SLO or Grover Beach, Ortiz-Legg said the county has to balance its financial commitment to being the lead agency for “the health portion of COVID-19.”

“Until COVID’s over, we just don’t know what we need money for next,” she said. “A variety of unknowns could come forth and we need to be cautious.” ∆
Peter Johnson

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