Nearly six months after the $16.2 billion Shuttered Venue Operator Grant program was signed into law, fewer than one percent of the venues that applied for grants have received aid—and Rep. Greg Stanton is asking the Small Business Administration to explain why.
In a letter to the SBA Administrator sent yesterday, Stanton said the agency has approved a mere 90 grants out of the more than 14,000 businesses and organizations that have applied. And only a single venue in Arizona has received funds.
“Today, a venue operator in my district wrote me: ‘We are past our breaking point. We can’t hang on any longer,’” Stanton said. “Please tell me: What are my constituents—on the verge of closing their businesses forever—supposed to do? What can I tell them to explain why the SBA can’t get it together?”
Stanton’s letter summarized the SBA’s disastrous rollout and execution of the grant program, starting with a three-and-a-half-month delay and a website crash on the launch day that forced small business owners to wait an additional three weeks just to apply for the grant.
The letter was picked up by Billboard, and Phoenix’s Rebel Lounge’s owner Steve Chilton spoke to the publication more about the urgency of the issue.
Stanton’s full letter to the SBA is available here.