Coronavirus Update: NYC launches small business support for low-income communities

Coronavirus update for NYC
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Jonnel Doris on Wednesday announced three financial assistance programs available for small businesses in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods.

The programs -- the NYC LMI Storefront Loan, the Interest Rate Reduction Grant, and the Strategic Impact COVID-19 Commercial District Support Grant -- will provide critical resources to small businesses to help them build back and grow beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

"Our fight against COVID-19 has been costly for the small businesses that anchor New York City's neighborhoods," de Blasio said. "We're proud to offer real relief to help these business owners keep their teams together and continue serving their communities for years to come."

COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted minority communities, and more than 60,000 businesses in these communities -- restaurants, retail stores, salons, daycares, and more -- have been historically blocked from accessing capital and face a higher risk of closing.

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The Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity has worked with Small Business Services to address these issues in neighborhoods with a high percentage of other health and socioeconomic disparities.

"Now more than ever, Black, Latinx, and Asian businesses are struggling with access to capital," Doris said. "The launch of these programs is a targeted approach to provide relief efforts in communities that need it most. The city is committed to making sure all small businesses have the resources they need to get them back on their feet during these extraordinary times."

The programs work as follows:

NYC LMI Storefront Loan
The Department of Small Business Services has partnered with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Pursuit BDC on this $35 million loan vehicle. Storefront businesses with at least two but fewer than 100 employees who are located in low income neighborhoods will be eligible to apply for a zero-interest loan up to $100K. The loan can be used to help businesses restart or continue operations after experiencing challenges from COVID-19.

Businesses who would like to apply for the loan must:
--Be a storefront business located within an LMI zip code
--Have business operations since or before January 1st, 2018
--Employ between two and 99 employees

Businesses can learn more about the NYC LMI Storefront Loan and eligibility criteria at NYC.gov/storefrontloan. Applications open for this loan on November 30.

Reducing Business Debt
The Interest Rate Reduction Grant will help reduce the interest expense owed on an existing loan with select Community Development Financial Institutions, which focus on serving businesses that cannot easily access capital and creating opportunities that positively impact the communities they serve. SBS has partnered with 11 CDFIs who work primarily with Asian, Black, Latinx, and immigrant business owners. The grant will free up cash flow for businesses that can be repurposed to help restart or maintain operations. Businesses must have an existing loan with CDFIs listed below and should contact their CDFI to confirm if they are eligible to apply.

--Accompany Capital (Previously Business Center for New Americans)
--Ascendus (Previously Accion East)
--BOC Capital
--Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC)
--Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund
--Renaissance Economic Development Corporation
--The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC)
--TruFund Financial Services
--Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation (UMEZ)
--Washington Heights and Inwood Development Corporation (WHIDC)
--The Working World DBA Seed Commons

The list of CDFIs above can also be found at NYC.gov/cdfigrant.

Strategic Impact COVID-19 Commercial District Support Grant
The Strategic Impact COVID-19 Commercial District Support grant will provide funding to community-based development organizations to implement local COVID-19 recovery support to small businesses. The funds will be used to conduct outreach, provide technical assistance to connect small businesses, increase awareness and comprehension of new city and state rules and regulations, and strengthen merchant relationships to foster collaboration and increased local organizing. Officials say $700,000 will be available over the next six months to local communities.

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Eligible applicants must serve one or more of the following 39 LMI neighborhoods and communities of color:
--Bronx: Crotona, East Tremont, Highbridge, Hunts Point, Jerome Park, Longwood, Melrose, Morris Heights, Morrisania, Mott Haven, Soundview, Soundview Bruckner, Van Cortlandt Park
--Brooklyn: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brighton Beach, Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, East Flatbush, East New York, Starrett City, Sunset Park, and Coney Island
--Manhattan: Central Harlem, Chinatown, East Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Inwood, Lower East Side, Morningside Heights, Washington Heights
--Queens: Briarwood, Corona, Jamaica, Queensbridge, Rockaways
--Staten Island: St. George, Stapleton

Eligible applicants include nonprofit community-based development organizations that serve a single-neighborhood, CBDOs that serve multiple neighborhoods or a borough, and organizations that can provide organizing and technical assistance to neighborhood-serving organizations across the city. Organizations interested in applying should visit NYC.gov/strategicimpactgrant.

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