Today, Mayor de Blasio announced a Small Business Emergency Grant Program for small businesses that were impacted by looting and experienced damage to their storefronts. Thanks to $500,000 in initial funds from SOMOS Community Care, the City will begin providing grants to small businesses of up to $10,000 per business, starting in the Bronx. These grants will help with recovery, including repairs, security systems, locks, and more. The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City will work with Small Business Services to assess the level of need throughout the city, with the intent to raise funds for repairs of businesses in other boroughs.
“The only way we will move forward and get small businesses back on their feet is by coming together as a community,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Our small businesses are not going anywhere. They are strong and resilient and they will be back, and we are here to help them do that.”
New York City’s Small Business Service’s Emergency response team is on the ground in affected communities, surveying damage, and providing applications to apply for the grant to small business owners. The City is also providing emergency legal support, incident report support, and insurance claim support.
“SBS has been in the Bronx, speaking to small business owners impacted by looting and actively working to get them the resources and support they need to recover,” said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Our small businesses are tough and resilient. This resource will ensure that these Bronx businesses will receive direct support and equip them with the tools necessary to come back.”
“If our community is to heal, we must do all we can to help our local business prepare to reopen. Unfortunately, hundreds of small businesses in diverse, immigrant communities were doubly impacted, first from the COVID-19 shutdown and now by the looting and damages,” said Dr. Ramon Tallaj, Chairman and Founder of SOMOS Community Care. “Through this grant, we can help essential business owners, including community practices, pharmacies, bodegas, and others, access the funding they need so that they can continue to rebuild our communities and provide for their families.”
“Small business owners are already concerned about their financial future because of lost income from several months of lockdown. We are hopeful that this grant will provide the necessary relief for essential businesses in NYC’s hardest-hit communities,” said Dr. Henry Chen, President of SOMOS Community Care. “Now more than ever, the city’s immigrant communities need all the support we can offer, especially for the essential businesses that are the city’s lifeblood.”
Drs. Chen and Tallaj continued: “We both came to this country and built practices to pursue the American dream. Now it’s time to help others trying to do the same under the hardest circumstances imaginable.”
“Small businesses are the backbone of this city–they are vital community hubs that bond us in times of celebration and of grief. Our neighborhoods are unrecognizable without them,” said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “We stand in solidarity with these small business owners–our neighbors, friends, and family members–as they rebuild and as our city presses on toward a transformed future.”
“Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the looting that occurred in our borough earlier this week, we must do all that we can to give our borough’s small businesses a chance to survive in these difficult times,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Our Bronx small businesses and entrepreneurs are a key component of our economy, and aiding vulnerable local job-creators, such as the business owners on Fordham Road, is important as we look to help our small business community rebound.”
“This is a much-needed initiative to help curb the damages done to our business districts,” said Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez. “Many of our businesses in the Bronx are small, family-owned stores. It is important that we come together and support them so that they can get back on their feet as soon as possible.”
“I commend NYC Small Business Services for securing this much needed financial assistance to Bronx small business owners. These businesses are the lifeblood of our community and giving them access to grants will give them the stability to stay afloat during these hard times,” Assemblymember Karines Reyes.
“I’m extremely pleased that Mayor de Blasio has made available $10,000 per store for communities hardest hit by this week’s vandalism and looting. This is an unprecedented move in a most difficult time for the city. I thank and highly commend the Mayor for his timely action. This will go a long way in helping my district, which sustained extensive damage and theft, including Fordham Road, the largest and most diverse commercial district in the Bronx,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.
“I want to thank the Administration for taking swift action to provide targeted relief for our small businesses. The Bronx has always been defined by its capacity to persevere and come together in the darkest of times and this moment is no different. These small businesses are the heart of our local economy and vibrant neighborhoods and they will help lead the way in our City’s recovery. These grants will go a long way in lifting up our community during a tragic period and helping Bronx businesses rebuild and recover so they can continue to thrive in the future,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.
“It was heartbreaking to hear from the small business owners on Fordham Road and Burnside Avenue that were looted on Monday night. Many of them have already lost so much because of the pandemic and the property damage could prevent them from ever reopening. I am committed to our fight for racial justice and equality, but I will not condone the violent destruction of our neighborhoods,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. “I want to thank the volunteers, youth leaders, business owners, and elected officials that were out helping to clean and show their support. Together, we will not allow anyone to destroy the progress we have made as a borough and I am hopeful that this grant program will provide much-needed relief to our small businesses.”
Photo credit: Jonnel Doris.