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Financial relief on the way for some Fort Myers residents, businesses

Fort Myers on Wednesday finalized its plans to offer emergency assistance to renters and small business owners in the city.

They have $720,000 available, but to get any of it, you have to prepare Wednesday night – and be quick on your computer Thursday morning.

Renters have to make less than $54,960 and prove that because of COVID-19, you need help paying your bills. You’ll be eligible for $750 for up to three months.

Small business owners will be eligible for up to $10,000 if they employ fewer than five people and can prove they need help to get through this crisis.

MORE: City of Fort Myers Emergency Assistance Program

The website application portal goes online Thursday at 8 a.m., and it’ll be first come, first serve.

The city’s plan to offer emergency assistance got the attention of Quinton Dieterle, who owns the Cutting Edge Shop in downtown Fort Myers.

“You hope the phone rings; you hope you get an order,” he said.

But he and everyone else will have to be quick to apply.

“For those citizens who need it, I would get on it right away,” said Mayor Randy Henderson.

“It’s pretty much the first one there, you get approved, you’ve got it,” said Councilman Kevin Anderson.

You’ll need proof of eligibility – lots of it.

For business loan applications, “you need to establish limits within the city, that you were doing well before this, that you have at least five or less employees,” Anderson said.

And for rent grants, “maybe a copy of a lease, a W-2 form or something where they can say this is what I was getting,” Henderson explained.

Dieterle is praying he’s eligible for a loan.

“What if this just keeps going, you know?” he asked.

For small business owners, some of the loans are forgivable, depending on circumstances and how the money is spent.

For renters, the grant is designed to help you get through this tough time and you won’t have to pay it back.

Those who are eligible can apply starting Thursday at 8 a.m. on the city’s website.

Unsure if you live in an area that qualifies for relief? You can check here.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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