Indie venues call on congress to resolve problems with $16 billion Shuttered Venue grants
A number of different independent venue organizations and advocacy groups -- including Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP), the League of Historic American Theatres, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), National Independent Talent Organization (NITO), Performing Arts Managers and Agents Coalition (PAMAC), and the Performing Arts Alliance -- have called on the the Small Business Administration (SBA) and SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman to resolve the delays and problems with the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program.
"The $16.1 billion SVOG program, signed into law in December 2020, provides eligible movie theaters, live venue operators and promoters, talent representatives, and performing arts organizations with grants equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue, up to a maximum of $10 million," the groups' shared statement reads. "Nearly six months later, the SBA’s repeated errors and delays have endangered the very businesses and organizations the program was designed to help. The SBA has now missed its June 9 deadline to grant funds to those businesses suffering 90% or more losses and to begin making grants to the second tier of businesses suffering 70% or more losses."
They go on to say that venues who have applied for grant money "are experiencing a talent drain, cannot reopen, and are hanging on by a thread because this funding is not arriving quickly enough. If SBA doesn’t urgently issue funding while addressing interagency challenges, small businesses that have done everything they could to scrape by and hold on will close due to no fault of their own."
In the six months the program has been active, the SBA has only awarded grant money to 90 businesses, as of June 9, but there are 4,661 applications currently in the review process with another 9,269 still waiting to be reviewed.