Much needed relief is on the way for renters and businesses in Fort Myers.
In just two days, renters who make less than $54,960 a year, and businesses that employ less than five people, can apply for the city’s Emergency Assistance Program.
Many downtown businesses and many renters across the city are barely keeping their heads above water right now, so they’re anxiously awaiting Thursday when they’ll be able to apply for the help that could keep them going.
For the owner of Wise Guys Deli, the help can’t come fast enough. Martin Drexler said business is down 90 percent.
“I just want enough to sustain, even if I have to pay them back little by little, something to keep me going, that’s all I want,” he said.
He’s hoping the emergency assistance loan will do just that. Business owners with less than five employees can apply for up to $10,000 in loans from the City of Fort Myers.
Renters making less than $54,960 will be able to apply for up to $750 in temporary rental and utility assistance for up to three months.
Councilman Kevin Anderson said he hopes people will be able to get the money before rent is due next month.
“I’m very optimistic that we will get things running smoothly and quickly and get people the help they need,” he said.
“As close to the first of the month as possible.”
Deon Smith rents an apartment near downtown Fort Myers and lost his bartending and serving job. He said the assistance from the city is the help he needs.
“I kinda need to get back on my feet, so that would be a big gift and a breath of fresh air,” he said.
The small business loans will be forgivable.
Anderson said he hopes the program kickstarts the rebuilding process in Fort Myers.
Those who are eligible will be able to apply on Thursday on the city’s website.