DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – While billions of dollars are still available in COVID-19 relief, some small business owners said getting the help they need has proven to be difficult.

So far, the U.S. Small Business Administration has handed out less than $3 billion out of the $30 billion in COVID-19 aid program meant for small businesses in low-income areas.

The Targeted EIDL Advance program offers up to $10,000 grants for small businesses.

In recent weeks, the SBA has been publicly encouraging more business to apply for the relief funds

This has angered some small business owners who were denied the aid.

“I applied four time and they just kept denying me,” said Dr. Cheryl Carr, a self-employed organizational psychologist in Carrollton, Texas. “I still need this recovery. The funds that were promised would allow me to continue operating and not shut my business down.”

Carr was denied a Targeted EIDL Advance because her business is not in a low-income area, according to the SBA mapping tool. https://sbaeidl.policymap.com/newmaps#/

To qualify for a Targeted EIDL Advance, applicants must have 300 or fewer employees, shows a 30% decrease in revenue during any eight-week period since the start of the pandemic, and be in a low-income area.

When Congress approved additional COVID-19 relief, lawmakers said they wanted to target the smallest of the small businesses that often missed out on previous relief money.

Small businesses in low income areas were less likely to receive a PPP loan.

“What they’re trying to achieve great, but the way they’re going about it is flawed,” Carr said. “It’s not working.”

With billions of dollars still available, some small business owners said they think the money should be open to all who are still struggling regardless of address.

Some business owners also said the low income map used by the SBA is flawed.

For example, in Dallas, a business run out of a million-dollar homes on Swiss Avenue is in the low-income area but, two blocks away in a more modest neighborhood, it is not considered to be in a low-income area.

At several intersections, businesses on one side of the street are in a deemed to be located in low-income area while businesses across the street are not.

Some small business owners also said, even if they qualify for the aid, it is taking months to be approved by the SBA.

The SBA told the CBS 11 I-Team it has dedicated additional management capacity and resources to COVID-19 EIDL and is optimistic new improvements will streamlined the applicant experiences.

If a business is not located in low income area, the SBA offers low interest regular EIDL loans, Supplemental Targeted EIDL loans, and the Shuttered Venue Operator’s Grant if they qualify.

Remaining COVID-19 assistance can be found here.

Small business owners can call the local SBA district office in Dallas at (817) 684-5500 for a consultation on assistance that might be available to them and fit their circumstances.

(Originally Posted 7/23/2021)