Miami, Hialeah announce plans to help residents, small businesses

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez speaks during April 24 virtual news conference. (WPLG)

MIAMI – Two South Florida cities are taking action to help mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, filling holes in the federal stimulus plan with community block grants.

City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez held a virtual press conference Friday morning to discuss the city’s recovery plans to help Miami residents and small businesses amid the pandemic.

The mayor said that a website will soon be created for residents in need to apply for assistance to pay their rent or utility bills.

Residents who are at 60 percent of the area’s median income or below will be able to apply for the assistance beginning on May 4.

Eligible residents will receive up to $1,500 in assistance for rent or their utility bills. The funds will be dispersed directly to landlords or utility companies, Suarez said.

He said funds should begin being dispersed by the middle of May. A total of $2 million has been set aside for the relief effort.

“We are coupling this with, of course, the micro-loan and small business subsidies that we approved yesterday as a commission, which is up to $1 million," Suarez said.

The City of Hialeah announced Friday that it was taking a similar approach.

According to a news release, Hialeah’s Save our Business Fund will provide $2 million to aide its business owners while its Landlord-Tenant Relief Fund will provide $1 million for residents who need assistance paying their rent.

A website will also be set up by May 4 for Hialeah residents who wish to apply for the rental assistance. Tenants may also pick up printed applications at the John F. Kennedy Library.

On Thursday, City of Miami commissioners also approved an agenda item for community groups to help small business owners navigate the ins and outs of federal funding programs.

Below are more resources for City of Miami residents and business owners:

COVID-19 Micro-Enterprise Assistance Program: Objective: Keep micro-enterprises afloat for the next three months with grant funding that can used to pay for rent, payroll, and utilities. Micro-enterprise businesses are being defined as a businesses deemed “non-essential” and hence closed per the executive order and have five or fewer employees, of which one is the owner.

Small Business Emergency Loan Program: Job retention is a loan criteria with the goal of funding helping small business owners keep their current low-to moderate-income employees during the crisis. The loans of $5,000 to $20,000 don’t have to be repaid if jobs are retained for at least 12 months.

Emergency Technical Assistance for Small Business: “There is a need for organizations with business technical expertise to provide assistance to small businesses in the city who cannot afford other professionals to assist them in securing assistance through the PPP or SBA.” Those organizations include Catalyst Miami, Hispanic Business Initiative Fund Nationwide, Inc. a/k/a Prospera and The Allapattah Collaborative Community Development Corp. at $50,000 a piece.

About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for