Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) announced the creation of three financial assistance programs in low-to-moderate income (LMI) neighborhoods.
One of the programs that will help several neighborhoods in Brooklyn, including Sunset Park, is a Strategic Impact COVID-19 Commercial District Support Grant. The grant will provide funding to community-based development organizations to implement local COVID-19 recovery support to small businesses.
“Our fight against COVID-19 has been costly for the small businesses that anchor New York City’s neighborhoods,” said de Blasio. “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.”
“Now more than ever, Black, Latinx, and Asian businesses are struggling with access to capital,” said Jonnel Doris, commissioner of the SBS. “The launch of these programs is a targeted approach to provide relief efforts in communities that need it most.”
A total of $700,000 will be available to communities over the next six months. Eligible applicants must serve one or more of the 39 LMI neighborhoods and communities of color, one of which is Sunset Park.
David Estrada, executive director of the Sunset Park Business Improvement District, said the neighborhood’s small businesses have been largely excluded from pandemic recovery assistance so far.
“This new initiative’s focus on equity and low-to-moderate income communities is admirable, but far too limited in both financial and geographic scope,” Estrada said. “For example, Sunset Park by any reasonable measure is an LMI community even though our ZIP codes, 11220 and 11232, do not appear on the official HUD LMI list. So I’m disappointed that small businesses here won’t be eligible for the $35 million no-interest NYC Storefront Loans.”
However, Estrada noted that debt interest relief and support for local economic development non-profits have been encouraging.
“I’m thankful our city is creating examples of practical business support for our most vulnerable communities,” he said. “I have no doubt this initiative will save businesses that would otherwise have failed.”
Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, said the programs will help the borough’s businesses.
“Now more than ever, we need to provide these businesses with increased support so they can remain open and viable well into the future,” Peers said. “The programs announced today offer new supports that can serve as a critical bridge to what will hopefully be a robust federal small business aid package.”