Sol Y Luna Barber Shop and Mt. Zion Prayer Tower Mission on International Boulevard in East Oakland. Credit: Pete Rosos

The U.S. Small Business Administration is giving out cash advances of up to $15,000 for small businesses and nonprofits located in low income areas, including much of Oakland. The money is available through the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which was created through the American Rescue Act signed into law by President Biden in March. The advances aren’t loans and don’t have to be paid back.

According to a map utilized by the SBA to administer the loan program, a majority of Oakland’s neighborhoods are low-income and businesses in these areas qualify for the assistance. This includes historically disadvantaged areas such as East Oakland, parts of West Oakland, downtown, and neighborhoods surrounding lake Lake Merritt. 

To be eligible for the cash advances businesses must apply for a loan through the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Applicants do not have to qualify for or accept the loan in order to receive one or both of the advances, however. A full list of additional requirements can be found here. The deadline to apply is December 31, 2021. 

The first Economic Injury Disaster loan’s “targeted advance” is a $10,000 payment. To be eligible for this funding, business owners must be able to show a 30% drop in revenue during an eight-week period beginning March 2, 2020, or later, and have fewer than 300 employees. 

The second round of funds small businesses can receive under the program are “targeted supplemental advances,” which provide $5,000 for business owners who suffered a more than 50% drop in revenue during an 8 week period beginning March 2, 2020 and have 10 employees or less.

Ricky Rodas is a member of the 2020 graduating class of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Before joining The Oaklandside, he spent two years reporting on immigrant communities in the Bay Area as a reporter for the local news sites Oakland North, Mission Local, and Richmond Confidential. Rodas, who is Salvadoran American and bilingual, is on The Oaklandside team through a partnership with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.