Local businesses struggling with back rent due to COVID-19 closures

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Local businesses are still struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic — but more help is on the way.

A main issue for many businesses is trying to figure out how to pay their back rent, which is the rent they still owe from previous months.

“I am a single mom and this is my only source of income,” said Lisa Ortiz, Owner of The Hair Lounge, a hair and beauty salon in Las Vegas, near Jones and the 215.

Ortiz says she is on the verge of losing her business — all because she cannot pay the back rent she owes.

“It’s about 16,000 dollars,” Ortiz said.

Although her salon is open now, Ortiz says the loss of revenue from months of COVID-19 closures is impossible to make up. Businesses can apply for help through the Small Business Assistance (SBA) Program and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). But for some, like Ortiz, those are no good.

“I work off of rentals, I have chair rentals and I also have independent contractors. To qualify for PPP, you have to have a payroll, which I don’t have,” Ortiz said.

But starting soon, another option will be on the table. On Monday, applications go live for the Nevada Commercial Rental Assistance Grant (CRAG) Program. It will give those who qualify up to $10,000 to cover lease payments. One important requirement is that you must not have already gotten more than $5,000, cumulatively, through previous programs.

Still, experts say to figure out if they can help you — and they encourage everyone to act fast.

“A lot of time these grants are first-come first-serve,” said Chris Jackson, CEO of North American Commercial. “Being proactive, moving quickly, filling out your paperwork correctly, these are all things that will increase the probability for them getting accepted for the grant.”

Some storefronts have already closed for good. Ortiz is trying to avoid that fate, and is now even raising money through a GoFundMe.

“It’s a lot of stress, what I’m feeling now, but I’m also hopeful that I can pull it off and stay in business,” Ortiz said.

The Nevada Commercial Rental Assistance Grant (CRAG) applications will be accepted starting Monday, Aug. 24 through the end of the month. Click HERE for more information on how to apply and the eligibility requirements.

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