Washington, DC—Mayor Vincent C. Gray today joined Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, other DC leaders, and Adams Morgan business owners in celebrating the early successes of the Streetscape Loan Relief Fund (SLRF). The fund provides flexible, interest-free loans designed to minimize the impact of streetscape projects on small businesses.
"I'm committed to helping the District build and adapt to a new economy - one characterized by resilient small businesses, a thriving ecosystem of startups, and less dependence on the federal government," Mayor Gray said. "The Streetscape Loan Relief Fund is a direct, concrete example of that commitment."
The Mayor was joined by DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) Director Harold Pettigrew, local business owners Brian Harrison (The Reef Restaurant) and Katerina Herodotou (Meeps Vintage Fashionette), Adams Morgan Partnership Executive Director Kristen Barden and Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF) Executive Director Tim Flanagan at Harrison's restaurant on 18th Street NW in the thriving Adams Morgan commercial corridor. The neighborhood is part of an ongoing streetscape-improvement project.
The SLRF was launched in late November 2011 to provide interest-free loans to retail businesses inside or adjoining a streetscape construction or rehabilitation project. Its origins, however, date to November 2010 when the Council, under the leadership of then-Chairman Gray, moved to create the fund. Councilmember Graham, and stakeholder groups like the Adams Morgan Partnership and DC Main Streets Organizations, played an essential role in designing the legislation that put the program together.
"It is very good news that we are implementing this program," said Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham. "It is going to make a real difference."
Established only six months ago, the Fund has already awarded nine (9) loans with a total value of approximately $655,000 with another eight (8) loans valued at approximately $617,000 currently under consideration. Prior to the end of FY2011, DSLBD was able to work with the District's Office of the Chief Financial Officer to increase the amount available for the fund from $723,000 to $2.7 million.
"Many of our commercial corridors will be transformed as a result of streetscape projects," said DSLBD Director Harold Pettigrew. "The benefits of these projects are clear, and it is equally clear that businesses impacted these projects deserve our support. We're pleased to provide this support and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our businesses as they serve and grow in our communities."
To be eligible for an SLRF loan, a business must be independently owned, operated, and controlled; be licensed to operate and in good standing with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA); have a Clean Hands Certificate from the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) or state that the loan will be used to pay back taxes due to OTR; and demonstrate financial hardship or debt resulting from, or accumulated during, streetscape construction or rehabilitation in the District. Recipient uses for SLRF loan proceeds include: working capital; inventory; repair of furniture, fixtures, machinery, or equipment; contract cash flow assistance; and payment of overdue rent or mortgage of retail business affected by the streetscape construction or rehabilitation project.
"We are thrilled that the District is supporting small businesses not only in word but in action," said WACIF President Timothy Flanagan. "To start up a loan fund on this time frame is outstanding; even more so when we're getting dollars to businesses that return the investment to our community."
"Last month, the Reef Restaurant celebrated its tenth year serving customers in the District of Columbia," said Reef Restaurant owner Brian Harrison. "Without the Streetscape loan, I'm not sure we would have been able to celebrate that anniversary. This has been critical to our survival."
To apply for or learn more about the Streetscape Loan Relief Fund, please visit http://dslbd.dc.gov/service/streetscape-loan-relief-fund. To learn more about DSLBD, please visit http://dslbd.dc.gov, follow DSLBD on Twitter at @SmallBizDC, or like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/smallbizdc.
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- Brendon Miller (DSLBD), (202) 741-0860