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Brooklyn lawmakers launch small business loan program for those hit by COVID-19 pandemic

Unsplash/Anastasiia Chepinska

BY BEN VERDE

A pair of Park Slope pols launched a small business relief loan program on May 18, offering mom and pop shops interest-free assistance as they ride out the coronavirus pandemic. 

“One of the heartbreaking parts of this crisis has been walking past the darkened doors of many beloved neighborhood businesses,” said Councilman Brad Lander, who partnered with Assemblyman Robert Carroll to jumpstart the program.

The loans are available only to businesses within the 39th Council District, which spans from Cobble Hill to Borough Park, and the Park Slope-anchored 44th Assembly District, which also reaches into Windsor Terrace and Kensington. 

Businesses who have faced significant losses during the pandemic, have revenues of $1 million or less, and have 15 or fewer employees can qualify for the program, which will provide two different types of relief for Brooklyn businesses: zero percent interest loans of up to $25,000, and loans between $3,000 and $7,500 for independent contractors and small business owners who have been forced to shut their doors during the state’s stay-at-home order. 

The loans will be repayable in equal installments over the course of 24 to 36 months after a three month grace period, according to Lander’s office, and no guarantors or collateral are required for either type of loan. 

“In conversations with small business owners in my district, I’ve heard over and over how difficult it is to get and then use the federal relief programs for small businesses,” said Lander, whose initiative comes on the heels of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s small business loan program for businesses shut out of the Federal Government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

As of late last month, a majority of the borough’s small businesses had not received federal assistance, according to the Chamber.

The new program, which Landers and Carroll launched in partnership with the Hebrew Free Loan Society and The Change Reaction, aims to help fill the gaps in the relief offered by the federal and city government, according to the lawmakers. 

“I speak with a variety of small businesses every day and without fail each business owner reminds me of how important working capital is to re-starting their business,” said Carroll. “These loans will be invaluable to businesses that have been shutout of other government programs.”

Click here for more information or to see if you qualify.

This story first appeared on brooklynpaper.com.

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