GEDA programs get funding, including $1.8M for commercial rent assistance

Guam Economic Development Authority (PNC file photo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has authorized several Guam Economic Development Authority grant programs to move forward.

According to GEDA Chairman David John, the $1.8 million outstanding for a Commercial Rental Assistance Grant has been authorized.

John said 696 businesses were approved last year for the commercial rent relief. But the governor’s initial funding of $3 million ran out, leaving about 292 businesses without aid.

“I want to note that if you recall, the commercial rent relief grant was not in the governor’s initial Cares Act funding. However, she and the Lieutenant Governor received feedback that this was a critical area of need, especially around the second wave of COVID which occurred right around this time last year. The governor pieced together funding from other sources. But demand exceeded the supply of funds by about 1.8 million. So we’re appreciative that she has fulfilled their commitment to fully fund this program,” the GEDA chairman said during Thursday’s board meeting.

The second GEDA grant program given the green light is the Small Business Pandemic Assistance, which in 2021 was authorized $20 million.

In April, GEDA held stakeholder meetings to solicit the input of the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Korean Chamber, GHRA, and other business groups and community members who volunteered to provide feedback.

Since that time, John said the board has already approved the program’s SOP so the team would be ready to pull the trigger when funds are allotted.

With the funding now authorized, John said the only remaining steps are the issuance of an executive order to authorize the program and a memorandum of understanding between GEDA and the Office of the Governor.