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So far, only 100 of the small businesses that have applied for emergency loans have received the money, officials said on Monday as town hall stepped up a separate grant program to support defaulting moms and dads.
Some candidates said THE CITY last week that they heard nothing from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Small Business Services (SBS) agency after they applied for the coronavirus loans, hoping to tap into a $ 20 million pool.
At a press conference on Monday, the mayor told THE CITY he wanted to hear from anyone who is having issues with the process.
“If you know of people who have had a particular problem, we want to follow up and see if it’s someone that… we can still reach through this effort,” he said.
De Blasio touted an “expanded program of loans and grants” totaling “nearly $ 50 million”.
But the only part that has changed is the grant program, which has grown from $ 10 million to $ 30 million. This program gives money to businesses with fewer than five employees.
The $ 20 million zero-interest loan pool for businesses with less than 100 employees remains unchanged. Last week, SBS heard from 15,000 companies interested in the loan and received 8,500 applications before the agency stopped taking them in early April.
The loan through the Small Business Continuity Fund would give up to $ 75,000 to businesses that could prove they had lost at least 25% of their income within 60 days.
The city made 1,857 cash grants, totaling $ 14 million, a spokesperson for the mayor said. But only 100 loans totaling $ 5.9 million had been “distributed” on Monday.
In an April 7 reply to the mayor’s preliminary budget for fiscal year 2021, the city council said the eligibility of the loan program should be “broadened to reach more businesses” – and called on de Blasio to raise the loan limit to 250,000 $.
“It is imperative to speed up the processing of these loans to withdraw money as quickly as possible in order to avoid permanent closures and save jobs,” the budget response said.
‘There is no end’
Megan Kinney could use the money. She is expecting three loan applications for her businesses. Kinney, a designer, runs a clothing manufacturing company that serves her five clothing stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
She received two municipal grants that allowed her to keep some employees on the payroll. Now she has had to lay off all but four of her 15 workers.
“There is no guarantee of money. And there isn’t enough money to keep people on the payroll, let alone work, to wait to hold them, ”she said. “And there is no end.”
She and her husband have also applied for federal loan programs, but have yet to receive help, they said.
De Blasio has repeatedly pointed out that funding from the federal government is the solution for struggling small businesses in New York City.
Julia Arredondo, spokesperson for the mayor, said the funding increase announced on Monday “was meant to help us reach as many small businesses as possible, while we waited for the opening of the federal loan program, which we are promoting. now New York City small businesses to apply. “
“We do not have the capacity to help all the small businesses in need, because there are so many needs right now, but we are grateful to the senator. [Charles] Schumer and speaker [Nancy] Pelosi for fighting for additional funding in the federal program, ”she added.
“Absolutely no income”
Joseph Merante is still waiting to know the fate of his city loan application. He is the executive director of the Humpty Dumpty Institute, a small Manhattan-based nonprofit whose mission is to solve humanitarian problems through partnerships with the United Nations, Congress, and colleges and universities.
The group supports itself and its three employees through fees collected for accommodation and planning educational trips abroad. But now, due to global travel restrictions, that has all changed.
“We can’t do our programs and therefore we have absolutely no income,” he said.
The group received money from the city’s grant program, which will cover 35% of its salary costs for eight weeks, he said. But when it comes to the loan program, anyone can guess, Merante said.
On April 17, after THE CITY’s article appeared, SBS emailed Metante to say it was suspending applications “due to the overwhelming response.”
“If we don’t get this loan, we’ll probably have to put everyone on leave,” he said. “I hope we can regroup later, which is going to be very difficult.”
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