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'This was so heartfelt' | 101 businesses breathing easier with Sacramento's zero-interest loans

Out of nearly 4,000, only 1,400 finished their applications. Of those 1,400, 101 will were awarded a loan, but the city won't leave them without help.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — One-hundred and one small businesses in Sacramento will be getting some much-needed financial help, courtesy of the City of Sacramento.

"We are doing this because so many of our small businesses, our arts organizations, our child care centers and our nonprofits..., their lives are flashing before their eyes," said Councilmember Steve Hansen.

A couple weeks ago, the city announced a $1 million relief program that would let small businesses get zero-interest loans to mitigate coronavirus impacts. Not long after sign ups finished, the city announced 101 businesses would be getting loans under the program.

"They say government sometimes moves slowly," said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. "It's true, but in times of crisis and emergency we can move very quickly. Here's a great example of that."

Loans are expected to be rolled out in the next week and can be used for day-to-day operating expenses like payroll.

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The loans translate to help for nearly 700 employees and the business vary between employees of five or fewer to 25 or fewer.

Mayor Steinberg said there were nearly 4,000 applications. Out of those, 1,400 applications were completed and roughly 2,500 that were in progress. The loans were given out on a first-come, first served basis to qualified applicants.

"We are not turning away in any way those who are not getting these awards," said Steinberg.

He added that the city has been working with the local chambers of commerce to set up a one stop portal to help businesses. It would help them get access to and help for federal aid, which includes the new stimulus package.

Businesses who got the loan included restaurants, child care centers, and shops like Strappings Boutique.

"Just the quickness of this was so heartfelt and wonderful, because you build your dream and you're so excited about what you’re accomplishing... and then something like this comes. And, it just hits you like a hammer," said Susan Stewart, owner of Strappings.

She said the money she got from the program will be used to keep her staff paid and their families safe.

"With this loan, what I plan on doing is keeping my staff on, and just that relief and that weight off my shoulders to know that my staff is going to be able to make it through May and hopefully we can reopen May, June, July — whenever — this loan is going to keep us all afloat," said Stewart.

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