New Mexico business owners confused about status of relief grant

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Small business owners in the state are frustrated after being told they received grant money to help them during the pandemic, then later told the money wasn’t theirs. The Small Business CARES Relief Grant was supposed to help many struggling New Mexican businesses but instead left many confused and wondering if they got any money at all.

You might remember Matt Simonds, the owner of Broken Trail Brewery who made a bunch of hand sanitizer back in March during the start of the pandemic. “There’s no money there so at this point we’re done,” he says.

Unable to sustain his business, Simonds closed his doors and applied for the small business CARES relief grant. Last week, he got an email from the New Mexico Finance Authority.

“By the 30th, we were supposed to know why we didn’t receive anything. On the 30th, we just get a chain email from the New Mexico Finance Authority saying sorry,” says Simonds.

Allan Youberg is another small business owner. “Losing that income was fairly substantial for me,” he says.

Youberg also had to close his home inspection business because of the pandemic. He also applied for the grant, but unlike Simonds, he got a pleasant surprise. His grant money had been approved. “I was happy. I was a little surprised. I was pleased,” says Youberg.

But a few days after getting a congratulations email that he had received the grant, he got another email, saying he did not get the grant. “That’s when I thought, what the heck. Was it or wasn’t it?” says Youberg.

Now, the New Mexico Finance Authority is trying to clear up the confusion, saying people who got a congratulations email should still expect the grant, even if they got a follow-up email saying they didn’t. “We didn’t recall any awards that were made. That did not occur,” says Marquita Russel, CEO of NMFA.

Russel says the reason for the double email may have been because people submitted more than one request, and does not believe it was a glitch on their end. For people who only got an email saying they did not get the grant, Russel says that’s because the state ran out of money. “We could only fund $100 million and it’s a lot of money that simply didn’t go far enough,” she says.

The NMFA says if you got an email saying you have been awarded the grant, but have yet to receive your money, you need to check your spam folder or your text messages to proceed with the payment; You can also email them at cares@nmfa.net.

The state says they got 14,125 requests for the grant, totaling $156 million. They were only able to award about half of those requests.

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