The Colorado Sun: Black-Owned Businesses Weighed Down by Coronavirus Struggle to Stay Afloat

The Colorado Sun, October 2, Black-Owned Businesses Weighed Down by Coronavirus Struggle to Stay Afloat 

Businesses in underserved neighborhoods of Colorado say federal pandemic-relief programs didn’t come through for them, so they are leaning on private foundations or doing it alone.

For safety reasons, Marty’s 47th Street Donuts is only serving takeout orders.

The Paycheck Protection Program, established by Congress as a way to help small businesses weather the devastation of the pandemic, has provided loans to more than 100,000 Colorado companies, according to an analysis by The Colorado Sun. When at least 60% of the loan is spent to pay employees and the rest on qualified expenses, it is forgivable.

When I spoke with Mayhew in May, she thought she’d know more “in three or four months.” But as the summer ended, nothing had become clearer.

Mayhew never received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, and her bank never gave her a reason. Instead, she applied for and received a separate small-business loan for $37,000, which she’ll have to pay back at 3% interest. That, along with a grant from community group Montbello Power Advocates (which receives funding from The Colorado Trust), has helped the business stay open, albeit with shorter hours.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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