Businesses must review the following Grant Guidelines to determine eligibility. If you determine that your business may be eligible for Microbusiness Assistance or Small Business Assistance, please complete the Grant Eligibility Checklist to proceed with the application process.
Staff from the County of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Foundation hosted a workshop on May 19 to discuss the Emergency Business Assistance Program with interested businesses. Click here to view the a recording of the Workshop and learn more about the program.
The County of Santa Barbara, as an entitlement Grantee under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, receives an annual allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to implement CDBG-eligible programs. In response to the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19), additional CDBG funds were allocated to the County under the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Public Law 116-136. These funds are referred to as CDBG-Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds that are to be used specifically for the prevention of, preparation for, and response to COVID-19.
The County will be utilizing a portion of their CDBG-CV funds to implement a COVID-19 Emergency Business Assistance Program (EBAP) that provides grant assistance to micro- and small-businesses adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EBAP funds will provide support to eligible businesses for payroll, rent, personal protective equipment, and other costs required to resume or expand business operations. The program will benefit low- and moderate-income.
The Emergency Business Assistance program will consist of two different components: Microenterprise business Assistance (MEB) and Small Business Assistance. In accordance with HUD requirements, Emergency Business Assistance program funding will only be provided in cases where it can be reasonably determined and documented that the applicant business has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. All grant payments will be made on a reimbursable basis for actual costs incurred by grant recipients under this program. The business will be required to submit appropriate documentation to confirm eligibility for the relevant program and receive grant payments accordingly. Separate applications will be provided for microenterprise businesses and small businesses.
Program marketing is initiated by the Santa Barbara Foundation and Housing and Community Development Department and will include a range of activities. Marketing and outreach shall facilitate fair access and transparency. The program shall not rely solely on web-based marketing and outreach.
To facilitate meaningful access to program participation for Limited English Proficiency persons, program activities will be conducted in accordance with the County’s current Limited English Proficiency Plan. Outreach will be comprehensive with targeted communication to minority-held businesses and those in minority or underserved/underinvested neighborhoods.
The Santa Barbara Foundation and County HCD shall implement the program and make application forms available to businesses from as early as April 6, 2021 but no later than June 6. Funding is limited, and applications will be reviewed and processed as received in a completed form, and processed on a first-come, first-served basis, except that, it is the County’s desire to ensure assistance is provided in a cross-geographic manner. Santa Barbara Foundation will track assistance provided per Supervisorial District or other geographic locations, as approved by the County.
The EBAP program may allocate funds throughout the county and to ensure equitable distribution of funding between microenterprise and small business applications as delineated in Exhibit B Budget.
Complete applications may be submitted to the Santa Barbara Foundation via online portal or via mail to (or as otherwise directed by Santa Barbara Foundation to ensure both electronic and non-electronic means and to ensure reasonable accommodations):
The Santa Barbara Foundation
RE: Emergency Business Assistance Program
1111 Chapala Street, No. 200
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Submission of an application does not guarantee a grant award. As noted, Applications will be reviewed for completeness before accepted, and compliance with program requirements.
Section 1: Microenterprise Assistance
The Emergency Business Assistance program will provide grants up to $10,000 to Microenterprises that were adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Microenterprise grants can be used for operating expenses, including for the following purposes:
Microenterprise businesses do not need to provide ongoing documentation and reporting of jobs created and/ or retained as a result of the CDBG assistance.
Eligible Microenterprise Businesses (MEB)
To qualify as an eligible microenterprise business, the business must meet the following criteria:
Ineligible Microenterprise Businesses
The following business types are not eligible for assistance:
Assistance cannot be used to relocate a plant, facility, or other business operation.
Microenterprise Application Process
Applicants will be required to complete an initial application, including copies of the following documents.
The Santa Barbara Foundation and Santa Barbara County HCD reserves the right to request additional information upon receiving the application to determine program compliance.
Annual Income Definition and Documentation
The owner(s) of a MEB must be low-income, meaning that each owner’s family has income at or below eighty-percent (80%) of the area median income as published by HUD annually for the Santa Barbara/Santa Maria Metropolitan Statistical Area. To determine business owner family’s income for all microenterprises, the Santa Barbara Foundation and County HCD will follow the annual income determination method as defined by HUD at 24 CFR 5.609 – 612 (commonly referred to as Part 5). Household annual income will be calculated by determining the income of each family member, aged 18 years and older and projecting the household income for the next 12-month period as measured from the date that it performs the income determination.
Each applicant will need to provide verifiable documentation to support the applicant’s stated income. HUD establishes annual incomes. County HCD will update the program guidelines as income limits are updated. The current income limits for this program are:
As defined at 24 CFR 5.403, “family” includes, but is not limited to, the following, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status: 1) A single person, who may be an elderly person, displaced person, disabled person, near-elderly person, or any other single person; or 2) A group of persons residing together, and such group includes, but is not limited to a family with or without children (a child who is temporarily away from the home because of placement in foster care is considered a member of the family); an elderly family; a near-elderly family; a disabled family; a displaced family; and the remaining member of a tenant family.
Therefore, family member information must include, at a minimum, the following:
Section 2: Small Business Assistance
The Emergency Business Assistance program will provide grants up to $25,000 to small businesses that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Small Business Assistance grants can be used for the following purposes:
Businesses receiving a Small Business Assistance grant shall use grant funds to create or retain jobs (those held by low/moderate-income individuals) and shall provide reporting for up to six (6) months following grant award on the creation or retention of jobs. Determination of a job being held by or offered to a low-income person is measured by the salary of the employee compared to the HUD income limits for a one-person family, regardless of the family size. This may be documented by an employment offer letter or payroll records. Businesses that do not create or retain at least one permanent low- or moderate-income job(s) will be required to repay the grant in accordance with the grant agreement.
The job creation and retention requirement is described in more detail in the Job Creation/ Retention section.
Eligible Small Businesses
To qualify as an eligible small business, the business must meet the following criteria:\
Ineligible Small Businesses
Assistance cannot be used to relocate a plant, facility, or other business.
Small Business Application Process
Applicants will be required to complete an initial application, including copies of the following documents.
The Santa Barbara Foundation and County HCD reserve the right to request additional information upon receiving the application to determine program compliance.
Review/Underwriting criteria are included herein
Small Business Job Retention and Job Creation
The goal of the Small Business Assistance component is to assist business owners in operations during the global pandemic, as well as to create economic opportunities by creating and/or retaining permanent jobs held by low/moderate-income individuals within the unincorporated County or incorporated cities of Santa Barbara County. Job creation or retention is defined as total full-time equivalent positions created or retained at 40 hours per week, or any combination of part-time positions combining for 40 hours per week. Determination of a job being held by or offered to a low-income person is measured by the salary of the employee compared to the HUD income limits for a one-person family, regardless of the family size. This may be documented by an employment offer letter or payroll records. During the grant agreement period, businesses will be required to report on all jobs created or retained as a result of the CDBG funds.
In order to meet this requirement, businesses must be able to demonstrate that the created or retained job has an annualized salary of $66,750 or below ($70,050 effective June 1, 2021).
Job Retention and Creation Documentation
The business must provide the following information for each job created or retained. • Listing by job title of the job created/ retained
For businesses that are retaining jobs, they must provide specific evidence that the job(s) would be lost but for and without the assistance.
Reporting and Recordkeeping
Businesses assisted through the Emergency Business Assistance program must provide ongoing reporting for a period up to six (6) months. Reporting will document program compliance and job creation/ retention (if applicable) as follows:
All Business Assisted
Small Business Assistance Program Component Only
Business Assistance Program Management
The Housing and Community Development Department and shall meet weekly to review the status of the program, including the number of applications, received, number processed, and number paid by geographic area, and other information as may be requested by County, and to review any applications that may require County review and determination for program or regulatory compliance.
Santa Barbara Foundation:
If an application is deemed incomplete or requires additional detail, applicants will be notified via email, postal mail, or phone call and be provided two weeks to submit all additional information required. The application will not be considered received until it is deemed complete by Santa Barbara Foundation
If the Santa Barbara Foundation denies an application, it shall prepare and send a letter to the applicant indicating the reason(s) for denial and shall include notification of the applicant’s right to appeal the decision in accordance with the Appeals section of these Guidelines.
Upon approval of a program application, eligible businesses selected for the Emergency Business Assistance program will execute a grant agreement with the Santa Barbara Foundation.
Grant awards will be made on a cost-reimbursement basis. Assisted businesses will be expected to submit all reimbursement documentation within three (3) months of the date the grant agreement is executed. Recipients are not required to submit all reimbursement requests at a single time and can submit up to three (3) requests during the three-month period.
Reimbursement requests must be submitted in the manner prescribed in the grant agreement and include supporting receipts and other documentation.
The program will reimburse eligible costs incurred from April 6, 2021. All reimbursement requests must include receipts and, for payroll, timesheets, and payroll records and required supporting documentation.
Other Program Requirements
A denied applicant file shall contain all submitted information and documentation, as well as the reason for denial (ex: incomplete information, business outside service area). A denial may be appealed by filing a written notice of appeal and any information the applicant deems relevant to the appeal with the Deputy Director of the Housing and Community Development within 5 days of receiving notice of denial. The Deputy Director of Housing and Community Development, or designee, shall review the information and make a written determination within 10 days of receipt of the notice of appeal and associated documents.
Duplication of Benefits
All applicants shall certify on the Program Application under penalty of perjury, that they are not able to receive, and have not received, other federal or non-federal benefits or assistance for business assistance for the same use and same period of assistance as the Program assistance. Applicants shall further certify that they will not pursue other federal or non-federal benefits for the same uses of this grant program for the period of assistance under the Program. As part of the grant agreement, all applicants shall certify under penalty of perjury to this effect.
Applicants shall certify on the Program Application under penalty of perjury that “The information provided on this form is true to the best of their knowledge and is subject to verification by HUD, Santa Barbara Foundation, or County at any time, and Title 18, Section
1001 of the U.S. Code states that a person is guilty of a felony and assistance can be terminated for knowingly and willingly making a false or fraudulent statement to a department of the United States Government.”
Employees and agents of the County and Santa Barbara Foundation will not disclose any applicant’s personal confidential information as part of the program, except as required by law. All confidential information of applicants will be kept in a locked secured storage facility or password-protected electronic files and unavailable to persons outside of the program. At all times, the County and Santa Barbara Foundation will abide by all requirements stated within the Privacy Act of 1974 as amended. Subject to the Freedom of Information Act with regard to public records, if the County receives a request for public records related to the program, only non-confidential information, as verified by the County, will be provided. Program records are held by Santa Barbara County or its selected Santa Barbara Foundation.
The Emergency Business Assistance program shall be implemented consistent with the County’s commitment to State and Federal equal opportunity laws. No person shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefit of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity funded in whole or in part with CDBG program funds on the basis of their disability, family status, national origin, race, color, religion, sex, marital status, medical condition, ancestry, source of income, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or other arbitrary discrimination.
Santa Barbara Foundation will provide reasonable accommodations and/or modifications, or provide language assistance to individuals requesting such assistance to benefit from the services provided by the Emergency Business Assistance program.
Conflict of Interest
In accordance with 24 CFR 570.611 and Section IX.D.4 of the Agreement, no member of the governing body and no official, employee or agent of the County or Santa Barbara Foundation, nor any other person, either for themselves or those with whom they have business or immediate family ties, who exercises policy or decision making responsibilities will financially benefit from this program.
Program Guidelines Changes or Modifications
These Guidelines may be amended from time-to-time by County as necessary to comply with federal regulations and advisories issued by HUD or other federal agencies, to comply with direction provided by the County’s Executive Office, or to better align the program to community needs and priorities.
Santa Barbara Foundation utilizes an online application. Please follow the instructions below to access, complete and submit your application to the Foundation.