EDA EFFORTS TO SUPPORT SANDY-IMPACTED SMALL BUSINESSES CONTINUE
Trenton, NJ – To showcase the rebuilding of small businesses impacted by Superstorm Sandy, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) Chief Executive Officer Michele Brown delivered a Stronger NJ Business Grant check to Southside Marina in Pt. Pleasant yesterday. Southside is among the most recent of the more than 250 storm-impacted businesses to receive a portion of the over $27 million in grant and/or loan assistance provided in Ocean County to date. Across the state, over 580 impacted businesses have been approved for grants and loans totaling over $61.4 million.
Peggy Fischer of Southside Marina encourages business owners to stick with the application process. “There was a lot of paperwork required, but our Business Advisor was very helpful and supportive. It required some work, but this grant will provide some relief from the stress caused by the financial gap the storm created. I hope other business owners will stick with it, as the community will be so much stronger when we’re all back on our feet.”
“The EDA continues to look for ways to help Stronger NJ applications in our pipeline move forward,” said EDA CEO Michele Brown. “We have heard from applicants that a key challenge has been the time and cost associated with submitting required documentation. To this end, we hosted an event at Staples in Brick yesterday, during which applicants were able to have the remaining documents needed for their applications copied and submitted free of charge.”
Since early May, EDA has hosted nine workshops in some of the hardest hit communities to help expedite the process and ensure that additional burdens are not placed on the businesses. Applicants are contacted via telephone prior to the workshops to schedule appointments and are informed of any documentation or information needed to complete their application. Through these workshops, one-on-one assistance has been provided to over 75 businesses.
Additionally, the EDA has recommended the approval of eleven municipalities for Streetscape grants totaling $10 million under the Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) program. Also under NCR, the EDA has provided $2.5 million in grants to five Community Development Financial Institutions offering recovery loans to Sandy-impacted small businesses.
At last Tuesday’s Board meeting, the EDA presented seven projects totaling $26 million that were selected to advance to the next phase of the approval process under the Development and Public Improvement (D&I) component of the NCR program, including Atlantic City (two projects), Jersey City, Tuckerton, Little Ferry, Newark, and Perth Amboy. The NCR Program included $52.5 million to help advance D&I projects with grants and/or loans, up to a maximum of $10 million per project. Under this program, $5 million was approved for Seaside Park and Seaside Boro for demolition and debris removal following the devastating September 2013 boardwalk fire, leaving $47.5 million for other D&I projects.
The Stronger NJ programs are funded through New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) allocation from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Similar to other Sandy relief grant programs, there are strict federal eligibility requirements to which the EDA and applicants must comply.
For more information on the Stronger NJ Business programs, visit http://application.njeda.com/strongernjbusiness or call EDA’s Sandy hotline at 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929).