2012-11-28 / Features

Maloney Holds Forums On Disaster Aid For Small Businesses

Maloney reached out to small business owners threatened with extinction by Hurricane Sandy. Pictured with Maloney are Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley, Riley Mendoza, New York State Financial Services and Donald Jones, New York City Small Business Services. Maloney reached out to small business owners threatened with extinction by Hurricane Sandy. Pictured with Maloney are Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley, Riley Mendoza, New York State Financial Services and Donald Jones, New York City Small Business Services. On November 19, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney convened two forums in Manhattan and Queens where federal, state, and city officials provided small business owners with public information on accessing government aid to recover from Hurricane Sandy. The forums were held at Baruch College on Manhattan’s East Side and at Manducati’s Rustica restaurant in Long Island City.

Maloney said: “Many small business owners are facing problems of a monumental scale. They need help, they need answers and they need action on their issues. And that is what today’s forums are about. The administrators benefit from the first-hand feedback and the press needs their questions answered too.”

So far, more than 204,000 New Yorkers have contacted the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for information or to register for assistance, and more than $449 million has been approved. More than 105,000 have applied through the online application site at www.disasterassistance.gov, or on their smart phone at m.fema.gov.

Participants in the forums included representatives of FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the NYC Department of Small Business Services, the NYS Department of Financial Services, the Baruch College Small Business Development Center, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, the LaGuardia Community College Small Business Development Center, and Gianna Cerbone, the host and owner of Manducatis Rustica, a small business that has already registered with FEMA and anticipates applying for an SBA loan.

Information on government aid available to small business for disaster relief follows:

Hurricane Sandy Recovery Programs for Small Business Owners

Federal disaster aid is available for businesses that suffered losses from Hurricane Sandy. Assistance can include grants for lowcost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

•If your business suffered damage, register for FEMA support. If you don’t register, you can’t qualify.

To register for federal assistance, visit www.fema.gov/do-i-qualify-assistance or visit www.disasterassistance.gov, or call 1- 800-621-FEMA (3362) for more information.

•Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The SBA offers disaster low-interest loans. These are direct loans, not through a bank, that can help businesses recover.

A business—of any size—can apply for a loan of up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged real estate, equipment, inventory and fixtures.

Small businesses and not-for-profits of any size can apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan of up to $2 million to meet necessary financial obligations.

To apply for a disaster loan from SBA, you can call 1-800-659-2955, or e-mail disastercustomerservice@ sba.gov.

If you live in New York’s 14th Congressional District and/or your business is located in New York’s 14th Congressional District and you have additional questions, you can contact the office of Congressmember Carolyn Maloney at 212-860-0606.

Assistance Available from NYC

New York City has several programs that may help your business recovery from Hurricane Sandy. From low-interest loans to sales tax exemptions to swing space to donated supplies, there is a variety of assistance available.

•For small to mid-sized businesses that experienced business interruption, NYC Business Emergency Loans up to $25,000 are available. The loans are interest-free for the first six months and thereafter, interest is one percent for the following 24 months. For assistance, you can complete the city’s Hurricane Sandy

Business Assistance Inquiry Form at www.nyc.gov/html/sbs/nycbiz /html/contact/manager.shtml or call 311 and ask for “NYC Business Emergency Loan”. For more information, the city has prepared a list of frequently asked questions about the loan program: www.nyc.gov/html/sbs/nycbiz/downloads/pdf/home/Emergency_ Loan_ FAQ.pdf.

•For businesses that need to rebuild, an emergency sales tax letter is available from the New York City Industrial Development Authority (IDA). This letter allows businesses to avoid paying New York City and New York state sales taxes on purchases of building, construction and renovation materials, machinery, equipment, and related services up to $100,000. Applications for sales tax benefits must be received by February 1, 2013 and companies must commence reconstruction efforts within six months of applying and must use the sales tax benefit fully within one year of commencement. To apply, complete the HESTEP Application available at: www.nycedc.com/sites/default/files/filemanager/Back_ to_ Business/HESTEPBenefitsApplication. doc and email it to HESTEP@nycedc.com.

•For businesses facing displacement, the city is making short-term “swing” office space available in all five boroughs. For a complete listing of locations, please visit www.nycedc.com/FreeTemporaryWorkspace.

•For businesses that need specific supplies and services, many companies around New York City have made generous donations to help businesses in need. For a complete listing of these supplies and services, visit www.nycedc.com/donations.

•If you are in danger of laying off employees due to Hurricane Sandy, the Shared Work program may offer an alternative to laying off full-time employees. For more information, go to www.labor.ny.gov/ui/employerinfo/shared-work-program.shtm.

For more information about assistance available from the city, go to www.nycedc.com/backtobusiness.

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