Missouri launched a grant program Thursday to help rebuild Ferguson-area businesses that were destroyed or damaged during protests after a grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer for shooting an unarmed black teenager.
The handouts aren't being funding by the government, but through private donations, officials said. A committee will decide to allocate the funds raised but it was unclear how much help individual businesses could expect to pay for construction, rent, utilities, payroll and inventory.
Mohammad Yaccoub, owner of Sam's Meat Market, said he is grateful for any assistance that will allow him to reopen his fire- and smoke-damaged business sooner rather than later. He's already missed Thanksgiving, one of the biggest money-makers for butchers, and it looks like he'll still be closed for Christmas and New Year's.
"It's very hard," Yaccoub told NBC News on Thursday. He said that insurance payouts have not come through yet and he hasn't been able to make his December house payment yet. "I wake up every day and I say to my wife, 'I have to go to work,' and I go and look inside the store and then I come back. It's like I can't stop."
The grants will require that businesses rebuilt in the same city if they were destroyed or at the same location if they were damaged or looted. That's not a problem for Yaccoub. "Even my wife says, 'Why don't you move?' But I know there are good people there," he said.
— Tracy Connor