SoCalGas Wednesday announced the launch of a recovery program for Black-owned restaurants in Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will be administered by the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation, a community-based organization that provides economic opportunities for prosperity by infusing resources into neighborhoods that need support the most.

The Restaurant Recovery Program was announced in conjunction with Los Angeles Black Restaurant Week, of which SoCalGas is a sponsor. Black Restaurant Week is part of a larger, ongoing effort to support Black-owned businesses in the Los Angeles area.

“Black restaurant owners suffer disproportionately from the ills of this pandemic,” said Joseph T. Rouzan III, VSEDC’s president and chief executive officer. “This critical infusion of capital allows restaurateurs to make vital upgrades to help stay afloat during these challenging times.”

Awarded to restaurants including Watts Coffee House, Hot and Cool Cafe, Post and Beam, and Pip’s on La Brea, the grants range from $1,000 to $5,000 and can be used for payroll assistance, sanitizing and personal protective equipment, plexiglass, energy efficiency upgrades or repairs, energy audits and more. The program runs through the end of the year or until funds are depleted.

SoCalGas announced the program in conjunction with Black Restaurant Week in Los Angeles, which continues through Sunday.

“In these uncertain times we want to give small businesses an economic boost while raising their visibility in the greater Los Angeles area,” said Warren Luckett, founder of Black Restaurant Week. “They have been a part of the local fabric of this city and it is important that they have a platform to continue to succeed.”

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