Resources & Information for Lower Manhattan Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Sandy

SMALL BUSINESS STOREFRONT IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
Note: The Storefront Improvement Program has reached enrollment capacity but applications are still being accepted in the event that more funding shall become available.

The NYC Department of Small Business Services has announced a new $1 million program to provide funding for façade improvements for eligible small businesses and property owners impacted by Hurricane Sandy and located in New York City Evacuation Zones 1 through 6.  To be eligible, interested parties need to apply as a group with a minimum of five business/property owners, located within a quarter-mile radius and applicants must employ fewer than 100 individuals in all locations. Selected  participants will  consult with the program architect and be awarded up to $20,000  for eligible improvements. Applications must be received on or before November 1, 2013 and will be reviewed on a first-come, first served basis, with consideration being given to geographic distribution and need. 

For more information on eligibility and the application, please visit www.nyc.gov/sbs or contact Kriss Casanova, Program Director, at (212) 618-8863 or kcasanova@sbs.gov

To determine your New York City Evacuation Zone, please visit  http://maps.nyc.gov/hurricane/.

BUSINESS LOAN AND MATCHING GRANT PROGRAM APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE
The City has announced that $72 million of a total $293 million allocation for business relief from a Federal Sandy relief package will be available to small businesses in the form of loans and matching grants. Small businesses that experienced direct damage from Hurricane Sandy are able to access loans of up to $100,000 and matching grants of up to $60,000. Loans will have a 1% interest rate and must be repaid in five to seven years. The application period is now open.

You can find the application and more information by visiting the NYC Business Solutions site:  http://www.nyc.gov/html/sbs/nycbiz/html/home/home.shtml or by calling 311. Business owners will work directly with an account manager at the NYC Business Solutions Center to apply for the loan and matching grant program.

The $293 million in business relief programs funded through the City’s Federal aid plan includes $72 million in business loans and grants, as well as:

• $90 million for investments in business resiliency;
• $90 million for “Game-Changer Investment Competition” to reward innovative ideas for spurring economic development in hard hit areas; and
• $41 million for a competition to develop resilient technologies.

You can also access the Mayor’s press release on the Federal approval of the Sandy relief funds at www.nyc.gov/mayor.‎

FEE RELIEF FOR BUSINESS RECOVERY FROM THE CITY OF NEW YORK
The city is now waiving fees related to repair and reconstruction for businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  Fees from the following city agencies may be waived:  Department of Buildings, Department of Consumer Affairs, Fire Department, Department of Environmental Protection, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Department of Small Business Services, and the Department of Transportation. Eligible applicants must be located in Hurricane Evacuation Zones A or B, a Business Recovery Zone, or in a building that was issued a red, yellow, green plaque during the Department of Building’s structural damage assessment.  Applicants must complete an application and submit to the Restoration Business Acceleration Team to receive a fee waiver by October 31, 2013.  Fees will be waived until December 31, 2013.  More information and applications are available on the Restoration Business Acceleration Team’s website: http://www.nyc.gov/html/nbat/html/rbat/fee_relief.shtml.

REOPENING ASSISTANCE FROM  NYC RESTORATION BUSINESS ACCELERATION TEAM (NBAT)
The city of New York has established the NYC Restoration Business Acceleration Team (RBAT) to assist businesses affected by the storm and help them reopen sooner through coordinating services, permitting and inspections.  Client managers are assigned to businesses and will serve as a single point of contact for information and coordinating appointments and interactions with various city agencies.  Please contact RBAT by calling (212) 788-6722 or completing and emailing this Superstorm Sandy form to nbat@nbat.nyc.gov

RECOVERY RESOURCES FOR NON-PROFITS
The NYC Nonprofit Recovery Loan Program will provide interest-free loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 to New York City nonprofits impacted by Hurricane Sandy and will cover losses associated with the disruption of operations and property damage.  The loans are intended to fill the gap between expenditures required for recovery and revenues expected from insurance payments, grants, pledges, FEMA disbursements, etc. Priority will be given to nonprofits that suffered the most severe losses and/or were located in areas most affected by Hurricane Sandy.  For more information and access to the application, please visit https://rlp.fcny.org/rlp/about/ or email the Fund for the City of New York at LoanTeam@fcny.org.

FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE, FEMA
Anyone affected by Sandy – homeowners, renters, and businesses – can apply for federal disaster assistance. They can register at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE
Shared Work Program
The Shared Work Program is available to employers concerned that they mean need to lay off full-time employees due to a temporary business downturn.  Through this program, an employer can reduce the hours worked by full-time employees and the employees would receive Shared Work Benefits to help offset the lower wages. For more information, please call the New York State Department of Labor at (518) 457-5807 or visit http://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/employerinfo/shared-work-program.shtm.

INSURANCE
Those with questions about insurance / filing insurance claims should call the NYS Department of Financial Services emergency hotline. Call 1-800-339-1759 to speak to an expert. Hours of operation are 8AM to 8PM weekdays, 9AM to 4PM weekends or fill out the SBS inquiry form at http://www.nyc.gov/html/sbs/nycbiz/html/contact/manager.shtml, or fill out the SBS inquiry form at http://www.nyc.gov/html/sbs/nycbiz/html/contact/manager.shtml .

LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Several services are offering free legal assistance to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Types of assistance typically include help with insurance claims, preparing powers of attorney, help with guardianships, and preparing new wills and other lost legal documents.  For more information, please visit www.abanet.org/disaster/, www.disasterlegalaid.org/, or www.lsc.gov/

US INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (IRS) TAX RELIEF
Individuals and businesses located in federally-declared disaster areas can postpone gains on reimbursement by 2 years for business property. You receive a gain on reimbursement when your insurance award or other reimbursement exceeds the value of the property that was lost.

Casualty losses can also be deducted against income in the prior tax year, and certain disaster relief grants are not taxable.

For more information, visit www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p2194.pdf or call a local Taxpayer Assistance Center at (212) 719-6631 or the IRS at 1-866-562-5227.

DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE BACK TO BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAM
The Downtown Alliance's Back to Business Grant Program has been completed providing nearly $1.6mm to 105 businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

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