Businesses in orange zones should be eligible for city relief; Borelli calls on city to expand loan eligibility
STATEN ISLAND, NY – Part of the city’s recovery program now includes three programs for small businesses that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Department of Small Business (SBS) Commissioner Jonnel Doris announced the three programs – NYC Storefront Loan, Reducing Business Debt, and Strategic Impact COVID-19 Commercial District Support Grant – which are available to businesses with low to moderate income zip codes.
“Our fight against COVID-19 has been costly for the small businesses that anchor New York City neighborhoods,” de Blasio said. “We are proud to offer real relief to help these business owners keep their teams together and continue to serve their communities for years to come. “
South Shore City Councilor Joe Borelli thanked de Blasio and Doris for recognizing that small businesses are suffering and for offering programs to help them stay afloat. However, the programs are not as inclusive as they can be, he said.
Because eligibility for the interest-free loan program is based on the median income of a zip code, it hurts some businesses, Borelli said.
“It’s a program that’s not perfect, but it will help some businesses and it shouldn’t be relevant to know what the income of residents of a neighborhood is,” Borelli told Advance / SILive.com. “Rather, it should be based on which businesses are affected by COVID lockdowns versus those which are not.”
The plan unintentionally excludes postal codes, and therefore businesses, that are in orange zones designated by the state.
“So you can have a salon that is always open, charge exorbitant sums for haircuts, and they would qualify for a loan, but not Mike’s hair salon at Great Kills,” Borelli said.
The monitoring points to the problems with the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (P3). Many small businesses said they were denied loans under this program, while multi-million dollar companies were eligible.
Borelli (R-South Shore) sent a letter to de Blasio and Commissioner Doris on Monday asking them to reconsider eligibility for the loan program and include businesses that have been forced to close due to orange zone designations and red.
His letter also called on de Blasio and Doris to expand eligibility for the COVID-19 Strategic Impact Business District Support Grant to include BIDs in Orange Zones.
“We have the South Shore BID which could be the recipient of one of these grants, and we’re actually in an orange zone,” he said. “But that understands the criteria they chose Stapleton and St. George for, which is good, but the South Shore BID also helps businesses in three cities and is in an orange zone.”
“Businesses that have been closed through no fault of their own should be given priority,” he said.
LOAN FROM LMI NYC STORE
Thirty-five million zero-interest loans are made available by the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), the City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Pursuit BDC. The loans are for 60 months and do not require repayment for the first six months.
Eligible businesses can apply for a loan of up to $ 100,000, which can be used to help businesses restart or to help operations continue due to hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Eligible businesses must:
- Be a showcase company located in an IMT (low to middle income) Postal code;
- Have commercial activities since or before January 1, 2018;
- Demonstrate the ability to repay and have a positive cash flow in 2019;
- Employ between two and 99 employees.
Interested companies can request the LMI Storefront loan here.
REDUCE CORPORATE DEBT
The Interest Rate Reduction Grant will help reduce interest charges owed on an existing loan from certain Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Business owners who most often have problems accessing capital – such as Asian, Black, Latin and immigrant business owners – will be given priority.
Businesses must have an existing loan with a CDFI to be eligible. A list of Eligible CDFIs are available here.
COMMERCIAL DISTRICT SUPPORT GRANT COVID-19 STRATEGIC IMPACT
The COVID-19 Strategic Impact Business District Support Grant will provide funding to local community organizations (CBOs) to implement local support for small businesses.
Local support includes outreach and technical support to increase awareness of city and state COVID-19 regulations, and to foster relationships and collaborations with local merchants.
Over the next six months, $ 700,000 will be made available to eligible CBOs, including those in St. George and Stapleton on Staten Island.
Interested CBOs can find more information and apply here.
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