Mayor Bill de Blasio rescues small business owners in Bronx
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a Small Business Emergency Grant Program for small businesses besieged by looting and vandalism during the recent protests in Bronx.
While announcing this on Friday June 5, 2020, Blasio said the city would begin providing $10,000 grant package per business, courtesy of the $500,000 initial funds received from SOMOS Community Care.
He added that the grants would help with recovery, including repairs, security systems, locks, and more.
The Mayor further stated that the state would collaborate with Small Business Services to identify the level of need throughout the city, in order to raise funds for repairs of businesses in other boroughs.
During his visit to assess the aftermath of the looting on Fordham Road on June 2, de Blasio said, “The only way we will move forward and get small businesses back on their feet is by coming together as a community.”
“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,” he added.
New York City’s Small Business Service’s Emergency response team is surveying damage in affected communities, 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,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. highlighted the reinforced impact of the recent looting on businesses already struggling to cope with reduced business due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related statewide PAUSE order.
“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,” he said.
While appreciating the initiative, Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez, said, “This is a much needed initiative to help curb the damages done to our business districts.”
“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,” she added.
Council Member Fernando Cabrera, who witnessed the damage done to the businesses in the city, said he was extremely pleased that $10,000 per store was being made available for communities hardest hit by the vandalism and looting.
“This is an unprecedented move in a most difficult time for the city,” he said.
“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,” Cabrera added.
Council member, Andrew Cohen, also thanked the Administration for taking swift action to protect 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,” he said.
“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,” he noted.
Dr. Ramon Tallaj, Chairman and Founder of SOMOS Community Care, said, “If our community is to heal, we must do all we can to help our local business prepare to reopen.”
“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,” he added.