Resources

Conejo Valley Small Business Relief Fund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 12, 2020

 Contact: Danielle Borja, President/CEO           

Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce

805-370-0035 dborja@conejochamber.org

CONEJO VALLEY SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF FUND SET UP IN WAKE OF CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

A new relief fund geared to help local small businesses endure the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is gearing up to offer much-needed financial grants.

The Conejo Valley Small Business Relief Fund was created by the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Foundation, in partnership with the cities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills.  “Our Chamber is so grateful for this regional collaboration that gives us the opportunity to help some of our local small business through this time,” expresses Danielle Borja, President/CEO of the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“Our local small businesses give our cities the character and small town feel that we have come to cherish.  They are the fabric of our communities and no donation is too small to ensure they remain with us for years to come.  We need them, and now, they need us,” said Mayor Illece Buckley Weber, City of Agoura Hills.

The fund has launched with a $10,000 commitment from the Chamber’s Foundation and will provide grants aimed at assisting small businesses in Westlake Village, Agoura Hills and Thousand Oaks to navigate the financial impacts of COVID-19.

“It is important to know that 100% of the funds raised will be distributed to small businesses with less than 25 employees right here in the Conejo Valley,” explains Mayor Kelly Honig, City of Westlake Village. Our City is honored to support the small business relief fund effort and encourages everyone to consider donating to the fund,” added Mayor Honig.

The City of Thousand Oaks Mayor Al Adam recognizes that “the ongoing public health crisis has presented significant challenges to many of our businesses. As we navigate this new normal, the City of Thousand Oaks will work diligently to support our organizations, share our learnings, and help those in need,” shared Mayor Al Adam, City of Thousand Oaks.  

 Donations are being accepted online at https://www.conejochamber.org/small-business-fund and check donations should be made payable to: Greater Conejo Valley Community Foundation, c/o: Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, 600 Hampshire Road, Suite 200, Westlake Village, 91361. 

The Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce can be reached at: 805-370-0035 or via email at: chamber@conejochamber.org.

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Local Business and Worker Assistance

In coordination with the mandate by LA County Public Health and the LA County Board of Supervisors, all bars, nightclubs, wineries, brew pubs, fitness centers, and movie theaters were directed to close as of Monday, March 16. Restaurants are directed to move to take-out only options. This directive applies to all 88 cities in Los Angeles County, including Westlake Village, and unincorporated regions of Los Angeles County.

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION DISASTER LOANS
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to California small business suffering economic injury as a result of COVID-19. Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at: disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email: disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding small businesses answered by the California Governor’s Office of Business can be located at: https://www.ci.agoura-hills.ca.us/home/showdocument?id=22433.

RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES & WORKERS – CA STATE & COUNTY
U.S Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has announced that individuals and businesses with an April 15th tax filing deadline will be given an additional 90 days to pay taxes. You will not be charged penalties or interest. California State Franchise Tax Board has issued a statement as of March 18th that 2019 filing deadline has also been moved 90 days to July 15th, 2020.

The State launched a new website with resources to help businesses impacted by COVID-19: covid19.ca.gov.

The Los Angeles Economic Development Council (LAEDC) can work with businesses one-on-one to see if they qualify for other non-traditional loans, and to help access capital and tax incentives, and cost containment strategies so businesses can maintain operations and avoid layoffs. Send an email to: covid19response@laedc.org.

California’s Work Sharing Program provides an alternative to layoffs for businesses with reduced work or production. More info is available at:  https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/Work_Sharing_Program.htm

The County provides Rapid Response services to businesses and workers impacted by layoffs and will work with businesses to avoid layoffs and closures, get workers connected to benefits, unemployment insurance and other services.

Email: Bizdev@wdacs.lacounty.gov.

Resources for Workers – CA State

The County enacted an emergency moratorium on residential and commercial evictions through March 31. Tenants will have until November 2020 to pay the property owner for any rent owed.

If you’ve been laid off or had your hours reduced, you can apply for Unemployment Insurance through the State Employment Development Department (EDD). https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/

If you’re unable to work because you have or were exposed to COVID-19, you can file a Disability Insurance Claim through the State EDD. More information available at: https://www.edd.ca.gov/Disability/How_to_File_a_DI_Claim_in_SDI_Online.htm.

Employees who need leave to take care of children or family members can apply for Paid Family Leave (PFL) through the State EDD. More Information available at: https://www.edd.ca.gov/Disability/How_to_File_a_PFL_Claim_in_SDI_Online.htm.

Employees who have or are losing wages due to Coronavirus can apply for benefits through the state EDD. More information available at: https://www.ci.agoura-hills.ca.us/home/showdocument?id=22431 .

Chamber of Commerce Update
  • Business Interruption Insurance.  Many, if not all insurance carriers are not honoring claims for business interruption based on COVID-19.  There is a virus exemption.  There is a Chamber coalition at work to ask the Insurance Commissioner to cover these claims.  We are also discussing using rainy day funds to assist carriers in paying out these claims.
  • Stimulus Phase 3.  We are part of the US Chamber coalition pushing passage for the phase 3 stimulus.  The “unemployment on steroids” that has been referenced refers to Unemployment Insurance benefits for 1099, self-employed and gig economy workers.  As you know that should pass tomorrow morning.  These people have traditionally been left out of unemployment benefits because they do not pay into the system.
  • UI Benefits and SBA Loans.  We have been sending many businesses to the SBA to get disaster recovery loans or to EDD to get workshare or UI benefits for their employees.
  • Paid Family Leave Act.  The Department of Labor should be announcing guidance for businesses under 50 employees to get an exemption of the new PFLA mandate for businesses under 500 employees that was part of the Stimulus Bill Phase 2. 
Struggling with Home Schooling?

The Las Virgenes Unified School District and City of Calabasas have partnered to share effective home schooling tips for parents of students at all grade levels.  Distance learning can be challenging.  Fifth grade teacher Jessica Cioffi Wishart shares her professional expertise for achieving successful outcomes, watch the video here.

Low Income Rental Assistance

LOS ANGELES COUNTY OFFERS LOW INCOME RENTAL ASSISTANCE FOR UNINCORPORATED AREA RESIDENTS

If someone you know lives within unincorporated Los Angeles County and needs rental assistance, they may be eligible for the new COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program. 

More information about the program can be found here.

Small Business Relief Partnership

MAYOR ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP TO PROVIDE SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF

Westlake Village Mayor Kelly Honig and the Members of the City Council want local small businesses to know that the City of Westlake Village has partnered with the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce Foundation and cities of Agoura Hills and Thousand Oaks in launching the new Conejo Valley Small Business Relief Fund.

The fund, which will be administered through the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce is designed to assist Conejo Valley businesses with less than 25 employees.  Information regarding donating to the fund may be found at the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, which can be reached at: (805)370-0035 or via email at: chamber@conejochamber.org.

Job Loss Support

As expected, the April jobs report released on Friday morning was devastating.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 20.5 million jobs were lost across the nation during the month of April. The unemployment rate spiked to 14.7 percent from 4.4 percent in March, as thousands of businesses closed and laid off or furloughed workers they could no longer afford to employ. The one-month rise in the unemployment rate between March and April is the largest ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you have lost your job or had your hours reduced, you are likely eligible for one of several different unemployment programs offered through the California Employment Development Department (EDD).  Three programs, covering almost every worker, are available through EDD; traditional unemployment insurance, pandemic unemployment insurance or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation.  Traditional unemployment insurance covers individuals working for someone else.  Pandemic unemployment assistance is designed for small business owners, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, those people with a limited work history or others who do not fall within traditional unemployment insurance categories.  Pandemic emergency unemployment compensation is for individuals who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits dating back to July 2019.

Regardless of the circumstances related to your unemployment, reduction in hours or whether you think you may qualify for benefits, go online at edd.ca.gov and file an application.  With so many different situations growing out of the COVID-19 pandemic, let the experts at EDD determine your eligibility.

Currently, it’s taking approximately 21 days for benefits to be received, once a complete filing is made for unemployment insurance.  Unemployment insurance experts advise that if you file for unemployment, be sure to answer the questions completely and truthfully; thus ensuring that you will have the best opportunity at receiving benefits as quickly as possible.

Mental Health Awareness

SUPERVISOR KUEHL REMINDS US THAT MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl is highlighting the partnership between the County of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health and We Rise LA.  We Rise 2020: Virtual May is a month-long spotlight on well-being and healing through art, music, and creative expression.  Take the Supervisor’s advice and check it out here.

CDC Travel Advisory Update

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL UPDATES INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL ADVISORY

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has updated its international travel advisory.  The advisory notes the status of COVID-19 in various countries.  For those who may have need to travel internationally, information may be found here.

Childcare Support Portal

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES NEW CHILDCARE PORTAL

Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a new portal to help parents, including essential workers and vulnerable families, find safe, reliable and accessible child care options.

The new portal is available at covid19.ca.gov/childcare and enables parents to enter their location and the type of care they need, instantly receiving a list of local center-based and family child care programs. The list of open licensed child care programs will include health and safety information, age of children accepted, capacity, availability, hours, and contact information for the program and local Child Care Resource and Referral agency. The Child Care Resource and Referral agencies can answer general questions, including those about child care subsidies.

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