Jose Balmacera’s auto repair business is barely holding on. He’s two months behind rent, cut back on hours, and is barely making money.
On Monday, he turned to the city of Miami to help stop some of the bleeding by applying for financial assistance.
“I’m still waiting to see what the help is going to be. I’m going to be here until I can be," he said. “Right now I can tell you it’s a very low is no business at all.”
Jose, like thousands of others in the city, tried to apply online for roughly $3 million in loans and grants only to see the site crash.
By the time Jose said he got through, the city was no longer accepting applications for two small business programs.
"The system said there was an error or no system or in the final that you did not qualify," he said.
Underscoring the need in the community, the mayor on Tuesday was at a food giveaway at Marlins Park, where he acknowledged there won’t be a second round of financial help for residents at least for now.
“The demand is incredible. We basically ran out of slots in about an hour," said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. "We are hoping, this is a bridge, it’s a one-month relief package up until the point that we can start opening up phase 1 and which we believe will be in that timeframe.”
Jose had hoped to get between $5,000 to $20,000 in either a loan or grant — the city’s third program to help the jobless cover rent and utility was still accepting applications on Tuesday.
"Now we have to sort through all those applications to see if the people properly applied and unfortunately there’s a lot of people that are not going to get help," Suarez said.