City Manager Jack Schnirman is urging business owners to apply for much-needed federal funding that the state will soon make available through Community Development Block Grants.
The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 29, included $16 billion in CDBG-DR funding. The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the first allocation totaling $5.4 billion to five states and the City of New York eight days later. HUD says that it will announce additional allocations in the coming months, and is working closely with state and local partners to identify opportunities to expedite the assistance.
The state submitted its Action Plan for Disaster Recovery to HUD on March 12 that outlines the proposed use of HUD CDBG-DR funding in response to Hurricane Sandy. At the March 18 Chamber of Commerce meeting, Schnirman said that in order for the state to distribute the funds, HUD must formally approve the state’s proposed programs. There is also a federally required seven day period for public comment prior to HUD’s final review.
Since the storm, business owners have cited a lack of funding options available to them, other than Small Business Administration loans, and said that unlike homeowners, they are not receiving the resources they need from the state and federal government.
“Money is not only coming in the form of loans … but finally there are some grants coming as well,” Schnirman said.
According to the plan, the state will allocate approximately $415 million toward economic development programs. It includes a small business loan program of up to $1 million for eligible businesses, along with a consulting and mentoring program.
Additionally, a small business grant program is available to eligible businesses to help purchase or repair needed equipment, renovate facilities that were damaged or destroyed, and support mitigation efforts to protect the business from future storms. Grants of up to $50,000 will be available to cover uncompensated losses, with a potential to extend grants up to $100,000 for businesses that suffered physical damage and are at risk of closure or significant employment loss.