Following the release of a report that uncovered $180 million in unobligated funds left over from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the U.S. Small Business Administration confirmed with Nation’s Restaurant News that the SBA is working with the Justice Department on a plan to award the rest of the funds.
“The SBA plans to award the remaining funds and is working closely with the Department of Justice to resolve evolving legal decisions involving RRF and formulate a plan on how to distribute any unobligated funds,” the SBA told Nation’s Restaurant News in an emailed statement. “The funding provided by the American Rescue Plan’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund has helped more than 100,000 restaurants and other food and beverage business owners get back on their feet and survive the pandemic, and the SBA remains committed to providing relief and assistance in any way possible.”
The SBA declined to provide more information on what will happen if the $180 million is not redistributed by the end of the year. The agency also does not have further information on whether restaurants that were approved for funding but did not receive it will be first in line to receive a portion of the $180 million leftover funds.
Of the original $28.6 billion that was appropriated for the restaurant industry, 88% of applicants (250,738 businesses) were deemed eligible, but only 100,527 (40%) of those eligible applicants received funding. The 150,166 approved but unfunded applicants requested $41.2 billion in funding in total in 2021.
If the entire $180 million were to be appropriated toward awarding these applicants, only 0.44% would be funded. To fund the entire group of disappointed Restaurant Revitalization Fund applicants would require an additional $41.02 billion, which would have been covered by RRF replenishment passed by the House but killed in the Senate earlier this year.
According to the report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the remaining 60% of applicants that did not receive funding, on average, sought smaller award amounts than those that did receive funding, were less likely to have received PPP loans, and the majority did not apply on the first day of the program (only 14% of applicants that did not receive funding had applied on the first day).
There is no word yet on if businesses would have to reapply for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to be one of the lucky few to receive a portion of the leftover funding.
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