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Many Small Businesses Struggling To Get Loans, Approved For Relief Funds

CHICAGO (CBS)--  Many small businesses are continuing to fight for financial help to stay open through this pandemic.

The problem right now, the businesses are either still waiting on relief by way of loans, not getting approved for relief funds or not qualifying for them.

Starnella Johnson, 70, owns Ambassador Floral in Roseland on Chicago's Far South Side. She also just became owner of the building that houses her shop through a program with the Cook County Land Bank Authority.

As a result of COVID-19, business is down 50%. She's had to cut hours, cut her already small staff and cut her delivery drivers.

She applied for the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan, but did not receive funding and she doesn't qualify for money from the Federal Paycheck Protection Program. She also tried funding resources offered through the City of Chicago.

"So far, I haven't hear from them and it's hard times for all of us, especially being a small business in the area that we're in," Johnson said. "We need the funding really bad. As soon as possible, and i'm sure i'm speaking for all small businesses."

With no financial relief, Johnson is really being hit by the ripple effects of the pandemic. The bulk of her business comes from churches, cemeteries and funeral home, most of which are all now closed.

This is normally a busy season for Johnson with graduations and prom, which are cancelled or postponed.

Just this week, the city launched a new $5 million grant program for what are called "microbusinesses" in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. This will go to one thousand businesses with fewer than five employees.

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