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Business property damage costing Seattle $1.2 million in aid payouts

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(The Center Square) – The City of Seattle’s program that provides small businesses with grants to cover the costs of repairing property damage to their stores has utilized $1.2 million since it first launched in 2022.

In 2022, when reports of property crime were at an all-time high in Seattle, the city’s Office of Economic Development announced nearly $2 million in federal funds, care of the American Rescue Plan Act, to aid small businesses that have been affected by property crime.

That year, the Seattle Police Department recorded 44,424 cases of property crime, the most dating back to 2008.

“We established this grant with the dual objective of providing businesses with essential relief following unfortunate incidents and enhancing our support for the small businesses that thrive in our city,” said Domonique Meeks, small business advocate at the Seattle Office of Economic Development in a statement. “We firmly believe that fostering connections to resources and trusted partners amplifies everyone’s capacity for success.”

According to a press release from the Office of Economic Development, the 600th check as part of the program was issued to Beruck Tewolde, owner of King’s Deli and Grocery in the Madrona neighborhood. Last February, burglars stole from Tewolde’s cash register and broke the glass door.

Notably, the recent grant is the second Storefront Repair Fund grant Tewolde has received. In November 2022, three people backed a van into the side of his store.

The $1.2 million that the program has utilized leaves $800,000 left from the initial $2 million in federal funds dedicated to the grant program.

Seattle business owners can still apply for $2,000 grants to help cover costs to repair current property damage or reimburse business owners for costs paid out of pocket for past damage. According to the city, eligible storefront property damage includes broken doors, locks, and windows that occurred on or after March 1, 2020.