With the US Treasury kicking off a new round of $284 billion in COVID-19 funding for small businesses on Wednesday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced a plan to help NYC get a bigger piece of the pie.
The NYC mayoral candidate called on City Hall to compile “a comprehensive list” of financial institutions with access to federal Payroll Protection Program funding to share with small businesses.
He also called on workers from the city’s Small Business Service agency to go door-to-door to encourage mom-and-pop shop owners to apply for the funding, as well as more bilingual outreach to immigrant communities.
“We cannot lay back and think that people are just going to get this funding,” Stringer said at an event in Chinatown on Wednesday. “It didn’t happen last time and it won’t happen again unless this city government mobilizes.”
Despite being located in the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, New York City’s small businesses were widely reported to have been hosed last year when it came to the government’s stimulus spending.
According to Stringer, just 12 percent of Gotham’s 1.1 million eligible businesses received funding last year despite the fed’s having doled out $522 billion to help small businesses survive the pandemic and keep people employed. By contrast, 24 percent of businesses in Nebraska received funding, despite the fact that New York at that time had been the hardest-hit state in the union by the pandemic.
“And when you look at who got PPP borough by borough, we saw even more disparity,” Stringer said. “When I ran the numbers we found that more than 60,000 businesses got loans, versus less than 10,000 in the Bronx. Businesses say the applications were complicated and restricted them, or they simply didn’t know about the program. This is unacceptable.”
But as The Post reported last year, many NYC-based small-business owners who applied for funding last year complained of walking away empty-handed. And some large banks were even accused of putting their wealthier clients first, including some large publicly traded companies like Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse,
Small business owner Eileen Guzzo joined Stringer at the event and recounted her struggles getting a PPP loan last year from a large bank, saying that things turned around once she moved her application to New York-based community bank Ponce.
“They were fantastic,” Guzzo said Wednesday. “The platform that they used for you to apply for PPP was completely transparent and easy to understand.”