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$5 million gym and personal care relief fund could be open by July

Gabe Torres attending a client at his barbershop in North Long Beach after personal care services were allowed to reopen in June 2020. Relief money for barbers, gym owners and other personal care businesses could be available as soon as July. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Barbershops, gyms and other personal care service businesses negatively affected by the pandemic economic closures last year could be able to access a $5 million relief fund as soon July, according to a city memo released Friday.

The city is in the process of finalizing eligibility and usage requirements as well as the application process but the $5 million relief fund proposed by the Long Beach City Council in December could finally be available by July.

Long Beach has pledged $25 million in direct business support including the $5 million for gyms and personal care businesses.

A memo sent from John Keisler, the city’s director of economic development, to the city manager this week said that the city anticipates receiving the first tranche of the $153 million in flexible spending the city is set to receive from the American Rescue Act by May.

The second wave of funding is expected to come to the city by May 2022.

Before the city can begin distributing funds to the programs it carved out in the Long Beach Recovery Act in March it will hire a vendor to handle the administration of the grants for this relief fund and others. The City Council also approved in November a $5 million fund to assist restaurants, bars and breweries.

The memo said the city is also working on a outreach strategy to ensure that there is an inclusive business outreach plan in place before the application process begins. The plan will prioritize outreach to diverse business owners and those businesses located in low t0 moderate income areas of the city, according to the memo.

The city will have a total of about $230 million in federal funding that it will be able to spend on programs to assist renters, businesses and invest in city infrastructure.

It has already pledged $83 million to plug holes in the city’s reserves that was used to fix budget deficits and to end city employee furloughs. The federal funding must be spent by the end of 2024.

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