MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Democratic Florida Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and the Small Business Administration are alerting small business owners about the resources available that can help them during this period of economic hardship.

She has started a campaign to urge small to medium-sized business owners to apply for emergency aid. Mucarsel-Powell, who voted for the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, says that bill authorizes $7 billion in low-interest loans.

Added to that is the $377 billion small business program passed under the new federal stimulus legislation.

Mucarsel-Powell told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench “We understand how important small business is with 50 percent of all American workers. They are the heart of the economy. We authorized $7 billion 2 weeks ago for these low-interest loans.

She said you could find out about those loans through her own website or the local SBA office or the SBA’s website.

You can go to

“When the small business community is burning, the whole community is burning,” said the Congresswoman.

S.B.A. District Director Victoria Guerrero said “We want you to know that you are not in this alone. We are all here to assist you.”

From Miami-Dade to Broward, business owners welcome the federal stimulus program.

In Doral, D’Oench spoke with David Perez, who has owned Beacon Auto Care since 1997. He is facing his biggest economic challenges in 23 years and he is doing his best not to layoff employees.

“It is hard,” he said. “We have had a 60 percent drop in business. This is a struggle. We are trying to keep everyone on staff and keep all of our overhead.”

“We will look into the details of the federal stimulus program,” he said. “This could be a great thing. We have to look at the details and see if they make sense for us.”

He said he may apply for a low-interest loan.

“We just have to see the details and see if it is worth it,” he said.

“I thank we all look forward to an end to this and hope that we can pull together,” he said.

The sentiments are shared by Erick Leon, the owner of Code Ninjas. His business that teaches people how to write computer games and how to code was destroyed in a devastating gas explosion last July 6th at Market on University in Plantation. Leon had just reopened his business on March 14th at Westfield Broward Mall and then was forced to shut down his business on March 17th because of the Coronavirus.

“It has been hard, so hard,” he said. “There are so many uncertainties such as the length of time we will have to practice social distancing. We have taken a big hit. We are doing the best that we can.”

“When I think of the stimulus program I think of taking care of my 7 employees who are involved with the coding here at Code Ninjas. I worry about them and I will be taking a look at these SBA loans and digging into this. We have been waiting for something like this.”

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Peter D'Oench