Comeback Checks Program

Comeback Checks Program




If your business is in the County of Los Angeles, but outside of the City of Los Angeles, visit LACOVIDfund.org to sign-up for email notifications on future County of Los Angeles grant opportunities.
The City of Los Angeles allocated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to provide grants to eligible microenterprises and small businesses in need of economic support due to business interruptions or business closures suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Comeback Checks Program will provide $5,000 grants to approximately 5,000 businesses in the City of Los Angeles. Grant recipients will be selected through a weighted lottery process, with final award recommendations based on the availability of funds, program guidelines, submission of all required information, and supporting documentation. Grant funds may only be used for allowable costs incurred on or after March 3, 2021.
If your business is in the County of Los Angeles, but outside of the City of Los Angeles, visit LACOVIDfund.org to sign-up for email notifications on future County of Los Angeles grant opportunities.

The City has engaged Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF) to assist with the implementation of the Program. Correspondence regarding this Program, including award notices will be issued by CRF. It is the responsibility of applicants to respond to requests for information and documentation in a timely manner. EWDD’s nine BusinessSource Centers are available to assist prospective applicants. Find the location nearest you below.


GRANT PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY



Grant Eligibility Info
There are three business types that are eligible for the Comeback Checks grant program. They include:

1. Microenterprises:
small businesses with five (5) employees or less, including the owner(s), with less than $100 thousand in annual gross revenue

2. Small Businesses:
businesses with less than $1 million in annual gross revenue

3. Small to Medium Businesses:
businesses with have yearly gross revenues between $1,000,000 and $5,000,000 in the most recent tax return
All businesses must have prior tax returns for 2019 or 2020 to verify revenue. CRF will assist in the pre-selection and eligibility review of the City’s Comeback Checks grant applications in accordance with Program guidelines established by the City.



building a stronger economy

building a stronger economy

  • Eligible Businesses
    ELIGIBLE BUSINESSES


    1. Must have experienced financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. These impacts must be documented, quantifiable, and clearly impacted by COVID-19.
    2. Private for-profit businesses including sole proprietorships.
    3. Must be located and operating within the boundaries of the City of Los Angeles.
    4. Must have been in operation since March 1, 2020.
    5. Must have a City Business Tax Registration Certificate (BTRC) in good standing.
    6. Corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships must have an “ACTIVE” status with the California Secretary of State.
    The list below provides examples of ineligible businesses:

    • Businesses engaged in illegal activities, such as selling drug paraphernalia or operating a motel that permits illegal prostitution
    • Cannabis businesses or businesses that support cannabis businesses
    • Corporate-owned franchises (a corporation is responsible for operations, profit and loss, business decisions and quality control; corporate hires and oversees all store staff)
    • Publicly traded companies
    • Private social clubs that limit the number of memberships for reasons other than capacity
    • Payday loan stores, pawn shops and other firms involved in lending activities, such as banks, finance companies and any other firm whose stock in trade is money
    • Insurance companies, such as life, auto, home, bail bonds and other similar entities
    • Astrology, palm reading, tarot, etc.
    • Liquor stores and smoke shops
    • Night clubs
    • Adult bookstores, massage parlors, strip clubs
    • Businesses that present live performances of a prurient sexual nature and/or derive revenue through the sale of products or services of a prurient sexual nature
    • Gambling businesses (i.e., track waging facilities, casinos, bingo parlors)
    • Trailer-storage yards and junkyards
    • Gun or ammunition stores
    • Multi-sales distribution
    • Firms involved in speculative activities (i.e., day trading, stock market exchange facilitors)
    • Dealers of rare coins and stamps
    • Lobbying firms or businesses that dedicate 50% or more of their time or resources in lobbying activities
  • Funding Eligibility
    FUNDING


    Activities eligible for funding must be related to microenterprises and small businesses that are suffering from business interruptions or business closures incurred after March 3, 2021 due to the COVID-19 crisis. Examples of eligible use of funds include the following:

    • Employee payroll
    • Rent, utilities and insurance
    • Payment of outstanding business expenses
    • Adaptive business practices needed to operate the business
    The list below provides examples of ineligible activities or costs covered:

    • Expenses for the State share of Medicaid
    • Damages covered by insurance
    • Reimbursement to donors for donated items or services
    • Workforce bonuses, other than hazard pay or overtime
    • Severance pay
    • Legal settlements
    • Property taxes
    • Personal activities/goods/services/expenses unrelated to COVID-19
  • Required Documents
    REQUIRED DOCUMENTS


    If your small business or microenterprise is selected as a finalist, you will be notified via email. Being selected as a finalist does not guarantee a grant will be awarded. As a finalist, additional documentation will be required, including, but not limited, to the following:

    • Social Security Number
    • Prior Year Applicant Tax Return: provide a copy of the most recently submitted Federal Tax Return; if business taxes are reported on personal tax return, the small business-related sections must be reported
    • California Secretary of State: verification of ACTIVE status by the California Secretary of State, if applicable
      Information about how to register your organization with the Secretary of State and the status of registered organizations is available on the Secretary of State’s website. You will be required to provide a copy of the screen shot from the Business Search on the California Secretary of State’s website showing an ACTIVE status or other evidence of authority to conduct business in the State, as applicable.
    • W-9 Form: to expedite the process after funding approval, small businesses are required to complete and submit this form
    • Business Tax Registration Certificate (BTRC): required for all applicants; verification of good standing will be completed by the City
    • Grant Agreement: Required for all applicants selected for funding; agreement must be executed prior to disbursement of funds
    Documentation must be provided within five business days of written notification unless extenuating circumstances exist. Failure to provide documentation may result in a denial of grant funds.
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AN EQUITY LENS TO GRANTS


Grant winners will be chosen through a randomized application system. In order to support the most vulnerable in our communities, applicants that meet the following criteria are weighted more heavily in the randomized application system:
  • Entities located in low-to-moderate income (LMI) census tracts, as defined by HUD
  • Census tracts that are disproportionately burdened by, and vulnerable to, multiple Socioeconomic factors such as: poverty, pollution, unemployment, etc.


APPLICATION


Applications will be made available by CRF. The first step of the application process will be to ensure eligibility of the applicant. The Round 1 Application Period opens October 26, 2021 and closes November 2, 2021. There will be at least 3 rounds for submittal of applications for the Comeback Checks Program. Those who submitted applications in the first round and were not selected for funding, will not need to reapply for subsequent rounds as they will automatically be included in future rounds of Program funding.

Applicants may only apply for one entity. Applicants with multiple businesses may only submit one application for the business with the most revenue. Each grant is limited to one grant per applicant and business tax ID.

Businesses will be selected for funding through a weighted lottery process. Businesses based in low to moderate income communities that were not able to take advantage of other public emergency funding sources will be provided additional weight. The following are the demographics that will be provided additional weight in the lottery selection process:
  • Businesses that are located in low- and moderate-income communities or owned by low- and moderate-income persons (80% of area median income or lower)
  • CalEnviroScreen Map communities with health hazard ranges at 90%+
  • SocioEconomic Data Composite Score by census tracts (i.e. poverty rates, educational attainment, median income, etc.) The districts with disadvantaging factors will receive higher lottery weightings.


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