GEDA getting positive feedback on planned commercial rent relief program

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GEDA director Melanie Mendiola told PNC News that even though the program has not been funded, it has already received tremendous response. (PNC photo)

Rent relief has been a big issue during the pandemic, especially for the business community.

Local businesses may soon receive some help thanks to the Guam Economic Development Authority.

GEDA is working on a commercial rent relief program funded by the CARES Act and qualified businesses can receive the lesser of two options: either two months’ worth of rental relief or $20,000.

GEDA director Melanie Mendiola told PNC News that even though the program has not been funded, it has already received tremendous response.

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“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive for the commercial rent relief program. Again, this program is currently unfunded. And so we are putting the program together in hopes that there will be available funding for it. We calculated that we were working with a budget of $5 million and we’re hoping that we can benefit 500 or more businesses,” Mendiola said.

She added: “Because we haven’t received confirmation about funds being available for this program, we’re not able to release the application yet. Although it’s something that the board started working on and approved as far as the SOPs and that’s in anticipation of..so that in the event the money is approved then we can move quickly and get that application out into the community so our small businesses can apply.”

Mendiola says GEDA hopes to get the program approved in the next week or so.

Under the program, retail establishments would be limited to stores operating out of brick and mortar commercial spaces.

Businesses selling out of their houses or at swap meets would not be included.

Also excluded are professionals working out of offices such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants.

GovGuam has just over a month to spend the CARES Act money before it lapses.

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