San Francisco to give some small businesses up to $1,000 to fix their broken windows

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Property crimes including vandalism in San Francisco have plagued many small businesses. Now, there is a test program to help some of those business owners.

The district attorney's office and Supervisor Dean Preston's office have worked together on a new pilot program that could pay small businesses up to $1,000.

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Monday, ABC7 News reporter J.R. Stone was in San Francisco's Hayes Valley as a construction crew boarded up a cracked window.

"This restaurant had a brick thrown through their window last night," said Brian Ginell of Cookline Construction.

He's referring to the Rich Table restaurant in San Francisco, where they've had three windows broken in recent weeks. Across the street at 20th Century Café, they've dealt with the same problem and have had three of their windows destroyed as well.

"To work that hard and then to get the call in the middle of the night or to come in first thing in the morning and see that it's disheartening, in a way I can't describe. It feels like a personal attack!" Says Michelle Polzine who owns the café.

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It's unclear why this is happening, but business owners we talked with believe the city's homeless aren't getting the help they need.

Contractor Ginell says he's seen vandals target restaurants building outdoor parklets, where people sit outside.

San Francisco has started this test program in District 5, which includes Hayes Valley, the Haight, and the Inner Sunset neighborhoods. Small businesses that have had their windows smashed during the pandemic can apply for a grant that could pay them up to $1,000.

"It's a significant hit on a small business when you're already struggling and then your window gets smashed for no fault of your own, nothing you did wrong," says District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston.

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While this may not be a long-term solution, those we talked with are positive about the program.

"Glad that the city is starting to look at really practical ways to support businesses," says Polzine.

This program does not help bigger companies like Walgreens or CVS, which have been hit hard in San Francisco.

Eligibility requirements for businesses include:
  • The qualifying incident occurred in District 5 in San Francisco
  • The business is currently in good standing
  • Businesses that have a total annual revenue under $25M
  • A claim is presented within 120 days of incident or within 120 days of the start of this program.
  • Immigration status does not affect eligibility.
  • Self-employed, sole-proprietors and independent contractors are also eligible for coverage under the program.
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