The Paycheck Protection Program applications resumed today, but are Spanish-speaking business owners getting this information across the board?
ABC15’ special reporting project, The Rebound Arizona, is hearing concerns from community members saying there’s no equal access to these loans information.
“It seemed very shady that a whole demographic group of people weren’t able to access the application from day one,” said José Díaz, a Phoenix accountant.
Díaz says he handles his parents accounting for multiple taquerias or taco shops that his parents own, but he says nothing prepared him for what he witnessed when his mom tried to apply for the PPP loan application that was available in Spanish.
“When I clicked on it, the instructions were very limited and there actually is no indication that the application is even open,” said Díaz.
According to the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce most recent report, Hispanic-owned business in the U.S. increased by 40 percent from 2012 to 2018.
Díaz says his parents are successful business owners and like everyone else deserve fair treatment.
“Maybe it was a technical error or some glitch right, but at the same time it’s unacceptable given the current climate.”
So how do we assure everyone regardless of language has equal access to these loans’ information now?
“The communities where our direct marketing is seeing more success is among the Spanish-speaking and border communities,” said Laura Ciscomani, Director of Development for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.
Ciscomani says they have a free program in both English and Spanish to help business owners with resources about their existing relief application or about submitting a new one.
“There’s a real need among the Spanish-speaking community to get accurate information and get the help they need in order to access the resources that have been made available for them through the federal government,” said Ciscomani.
In the case of Díaz’ parents, they like many other small businesses, didn’t get to receive money from the Paycheck Protection Program, he hopes things change the second time around.
Chicanos por la Causa says, it’s hard to help Hispanic businesses when even non-profits are being denied relief.
“One of the avenues we tried was through the Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority, we applied for a $10 million dollar loan and we basically were turned down,” said David Adame.
Adame is the President of Chicanos Por la Causa, the non-profit has been providing small businesses with loans since 1980.
“It wasn’t a no slap in the face to CLPC, it was a no slap in the face to any small business out there that’s not going to get in this round and it might have had an opportunity having another avenue to apply,” added Adame.
You can read the CPLC’s statement here: cplc.org/blog/viewpost.php?id=1065.
For more information on the Arizona Chamber of Commerce bilingual programs, visit www.caresactaz.com and www.caresactaz.com/espanol.