ALBANY, N.Y., Aug. 27 -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., issued the following news release:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched the East Harlem Small Business Emergency Loan Program to assist companies that were impacted by the explosion that disrupted the local community earlier this year. The program will distribute $425,000 in individual loans of up to $20,000 to eligible businesses in order to aid their ongoing recovery from the March explosion.
"New Yorkers come together in times of hardship, and today we are doing just that," Governor Cuomo said. "These loans will help small business owners impacted by March's tragic explosion get back on their feet, and I am proud that the state is joining with our local partners to support their recovery and make this program a reality."
In addition to a $100,000 state grant that was approved by the ESD Board of Directors earlier today, this new program includes $125,000 from the Harlem Community Development Corporation; a $100,000 grant from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ); and a $100,000 commitment for privately raised funds from Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez that includes $50,000 from the Partnership for New York City.
ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, "In the wake of a devastating event like the Harlem explosion, many small businesses need help getting back on track, and thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership, we will now be able to provide support to the greater Harlem community through the East Harlem Small Business Emergency Loan Program which will offer financial support to the businesses who need it the most."
Harlem Community Development Corporation Chairman Assembly Member Keith L.T. Wright said, "Our goal at HCDC is to help revitalize Harlem, and in heartbreaking times when tragedy strikes, strategic investments and small business aid programs are vital to the community's recovery."
Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone President and CEO Kenneth J. Knuckles said, "This catastrophic event occurred in the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and we seek to provide some financial relief to the East Harlem small business community that have been impacted by the explosion."
Assembly Member Rodriguez said, "Small businesses are so vital in making East Harlem unique and serving the diverse needs of our community. I commend Empire State Development, as well as UMEZ for working cooperatively with my office to encourage our small businesses to get back on their feet, and enhance businesses that have been damaged as a result of the March 12 explosion. This forgivable loan fund will help our community rebuild and renovate, thereby protecting our local economy."
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said, "Small businesses are the backbone of this city and no truer words can be said of the businesses here in East Harlem. The explosion has deeply impacted a lot of the businesses in my district and these loans will greatly help business owners get back on their feet. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for providing this funding and helping East Harlem businesses so they can continue to provide the services my constituents have come to rely on."
Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City, said, "Neighborhood-based businesses have a special challenge recovering from this type of tragedy, so the Partnership for New York City is pleased to support this effort to assist in their recovery."
The State is establishing the new funding program to assist eligible small businesses affected by the gas leak that caused the destruction of two five-story two buildings located just north of 116th Street at 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue in East Harlem in March by mitigating the financial impact of the explosion through forgivable emergency loans. The maximum amount for these loans will be $20,000.
To be eligible for these loans, the small businesses must be: 1) located between East 115th Street and East 118th Street and between Lexington Avenue and Madison Avenue; 2) in operation on March 11, 2014, i.e., one day before the explosion of March 12, 2014; and 3) registered with the State as a legally established business or not-for-profit.
Affected businesses seeking to apply for funding should contact the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone at (212) 410-0030.