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Oklahoma CARES Act Funds Designated for Eviction, Small Business Relief Grants


Some of Oklahoma's $1.2 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding is going toward grant programs to help struggling small businesses and families facing eviction.

A small business relief program is getting $100 million, with 20% allocated for businesses owned by people of color. Governor’s Minority Business Council Chair David Castillo said that will help a woman he knows who had to lay off almost all of her restaurant staff and nearly shut down as the pandemic cut into her business.

"Access to capital is so important for small, minority businesses. She’s starting to pick it back up again, but this money that we’re talking about is incredible for her. I mean, something like that will help her get back on her feet and get the restaurant going," Castillo said.

To qualify, businesses must have lost 25% or more in revenue from January to May compared to the same time last year. Businesses can start applying Friday.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds are also being used to set up a $10 million eviction mititgation grant program. Money will go to local nonprofits, which can offer people facing eviction up to $3,600.

Jeff Jaynes with Restore Hope Ministries said the need is great and compared the eviction situation to a natural disaster Tulsa is all too familiar with.

"There is a flood of evictions in our community and in our area. Over 1,200 evictions every single month. And I hope that these funds will help us to not just provide sandbags but to provide some of the beginnings of that levee to help change some of the systems, to help make a difference for families in need," Jaynes said.

According to the governor’s office, three in four people with pending Tulsa County evictions not delayed by the CARES Act did not have a previous filing against them.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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