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Program to help businesses with mortgage and rent bills

The Maui News

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino announced Wednesday the launch of a $1 million program to help small businesses struggling to pay mortgage and rent in the pandemic.

The Small Business Mortgage and Rent Relief program provides payments of up to $12,500 or $25,000, depending on the number of employees and business revenue in 2019. Applications will be taken until Nov. 15 or until funds are exhausted. Payments must be made directly to the small business’ commercial lender or commercial lessor.

“Commercial rent and mortgage relief is a top priority for most businesses,” Victorino said in a news release. “This CARES Act funding provides a lifeline to help businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.”

Maui County is partnering with the Maui Chamber of Commerce, which will administer the program. Starting today, business owners can visit mauichamber.com and click on the “Small Business Mortgage and Rent Relief” button to access applications and more information.

Businesses that employed 10 or more people, including owners, prior to COVID-19 and reported 2019 annual G49 revenues of between $1.5 million and $4 million may apply for up to $12,500 in direct commercial mortgage or commercial rent assistance.

Businesses that employed 15 or more, including owners, prior to COVID-19 and reported 2019 annual G49 revenues of between $4,000,001 and $7.5 million may apply for up to $25,000.

Applications are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Incomplete applications are held until all required information is submitted. Awards are based on funding availability, and current need and hardship. The program also takes into consideration the likelihood of a business continuing to operate in the future with assistance provided.

Applicants may apply only once, with only one application per married couple, even if both individuals own businesses. Owners who own all or a portion of multiple businesses or are in a partnership in more than one business should apply for the business with the greatest need.

To be eligible, applicants must:

• Have a valid general excise tax license.

• Have been a registered business in the state of Hawaii to conduct business in Maui County and be headquartered in Maui County for two years prior to March 20.

• Be listed as active and in good standing on the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs website.

• Demonstrate significant income losses when comparing their first three GET quarters of 2019 to their first three quarters of 2020 GET, and verify significant commercial mortgage or commercial rent debt since March 20 that the company has been unable to pay due to COVID-19.

Applicants must also provide:

• A copy of their 2019 federal income tax overview showing total gross income.

• A copy of the first nine months (or three quarters, if filed quarterly) of G45 returns for both 2019 and 2020.

• A statement of back-owed commercial mortgage or commercial rent payments due.

• Information on numbers employed prior to March 20 and currently.

Applicants are required to submit a completed certification that they did not receive assistance from the Kokua Maui County Small Business Recovery and Relief Fund, the Maui County Adaptability Fund and/or the Maui Chamber of Commerce Micro Business Loan Program.

The program is not available to home-based businesses, short-term rentals, bed and breakfast operations and transient vacation rentals.

It is also not applicable to future commercial mortgage or rent beyond the application month.

Chamber President Pamela Tumpap said the program would relieve a portion of businesses “now unmanageable commercial mortgage or commercial rent debt.”

“It also benefits commercial lenders and lessors by helping them pay mounting utility and maintenance bills that have been piling up as well,” she said.

For more information, visit mauichamber.com or call 244-0081.

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