A Denver small business owner is fuming after the city denied her grant request to help alleviate some of the costs related to a nearby homeless camp despite meeting all criteria for eligibility.
“During this whole encampment situation, they said that funds are coming and don’t worry about everything,” Samantha Menendez, co-owner of “One Shot Back” bar in the Mile High City, told “FOX & Friends Weekend” on Sunday.
“[There were] 200 plus tents around our business and basically nothing came for us,” she continued. “They gave us nothing in the end, and we had to go through eight months of craziness, and we received nothing, so it’s a little bit sad to be quite honest.”
Deborah Cameron, Chief Business Development officer at Denver’s Economic Development and Opportunity Office, addressed the disquiet, saying, “We definitely understand how frustrating it is to the business when they meet the eligibility criteria, but we just don’t have enough funds to spread them around.”
The problem went much deeper than homelessness, according to Menendez.
Drug deals, prostitution and physical offenders lingered outside her door. The conditions steered customers away and proved disastrous for business.
“I physically got attacked inside my own bar by the same people that were sitting outside my bar, so, of course, no one wanted to come there,” she said.
“There’s people right across the street that couldn’t even get to our door, so decline was pretty quick. The first three months, it was fine. After that, it was pretty aggressive for the decline of business.”
Despite being handed a rejection herself, she claimed every surrounding business received $15,000, funds she believes could have yielded better benefits if spread out among more establishments.
“Three thousand businesses applied, only 69 got them…” she said. “It doesn’t change anything for us.”
Though the camp is gone now, and the bar is thriving in its absence.
Menendez said that doesn’t mean it won’t return as the seasons change, but, in the meantime, the goal is to “keep trucking along.”