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Velázquez and Chu Urge SBA to Utilize SVOG to Help Small Businesses Hurt by Omicron

Washington, D.C.— Yesterday, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) penned a letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) calling on the agency to continue efforts to help live venues through the Shuttered Venue Grant Operator (SVOG) program. To date, the SVOG program has delivered $14 billion in emergency grants to theatres, concert venues, and other entities that rely on in-person events. However, the program currently has $2 billion in unspent funds sitting in its coffers. Program rules also prohibit grantees from using SVOG money to pay for expenses incurred after December 31, 2021. 
During a committee hearing last week, creative workers and business owners testified on the struggles they continue to face from the pandemic and the surge of the Omicron variant. In the letter, the lawmakers call on SBA to work with Congress to ensure that SVOG continues to serve as a lifeline for struggling business owners. 
“Because program rules restrict recipients of initial SVOG grants from using proceeds to cover expenses incurred after December 31, 2021, these businesses are left without a tool to address the ongoing crisis. Further, there are $2 billion in unobligated appropriations remaining in the program which must be used to support these businesses as soon as possible,” wrote the lawmakers. “Congress and SBA must work together to make improvements to the SVOG program so that arts and performing businesses can survive Omicron-related impacts.”
Read the full letter here.


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