If you are a business owner or homeowner still struggling to get back on your feet after Superstorm Sandy, there is help available to you to ease the recovery process.
Asian Americans for Equality and the Kings Bay YM-YWHA will present a “Post-Sandy Recovery Resource Seminar” for business and homeowners, April 18, 7:00 p.m. at the Kings Bay Y’s Sheepshead Bay location, 2801 Emmons Avenue.
The seminar — sponsored by the Brooklyn Community Foundation — will address such topics as emergency repair loans for homeowners, financial assistance for small businesses, rehab cost consultation and how to qualify for a post-Sandy recovery grant of up to $15,000.
The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
To learn more, call (718) 648-7703 extension 239 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earlier this week, a boatload of Southern Brooklyn politicians banded together to introduce a bill that would waive fees for businesses recovering from damages sustained during Superstorm Sandy, according to a press release.
The bill whose sponsors include Domenic Recchia, David Greenfield and Michael Nelson would waive fees for permits, applications and inspections for businesses doing their best to rebuild and reopen after the events of Sandy.
Councilman Vincent Gentile, who co-sponsored the bill, stressed the importance of this legislation in a press release.
“Some businesses are literally rebuilding from the ground up and when you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to get your business up and running again, you really shouldn’t have to bother with superfluous fees for permits and inspections.”
Businesses that qualify for the special waivers must have been open before Sandy struck and were located in Evacuation Zones A and B or in a building that was inspected for structural damage by the Department of Buildings. These fees have already been waived since Sandy due to an executive order from the mayor, but the pols are looking to extend it beyond its current expiration date.
Here is a list of the fees being waived.
- Department of Buildings permit and inspection fees required for construction, demolition, scaffolds, boilers, plumbing, electrical work, signs, scaffolds, limited alterations and after hours work.
- Fire Department fees for inspection of fire protection systems and gas station fuel dispensing systems, as well as for plan review and examination fees for installation of fire protection systems and fuel dispensing systems.
- Department of Transportation permit fees for opening the street, debris containers, sidewalk construction, vaults, and canopies.
- Department of Small Business Services permit fees for waterfront construction, equipment use, mooring, fill work, as well as fees for work notices and certificates of completion.
- Department of Environmental Protection permit fees for fuel burning incinerators, as well as fees for certificates of instruction in the use of and to operate the same.
- Department of Consumer Affairs licensing fees for salvage and liquidation sales of goods.
- Taxi and Limousine Commission Fees in connection with the licensing of vehicles, replacing medallions, transferring licenses, and for-hire vehicle inspections.
- Landmarks and Preservation Commission fees required with respect to obtaining certificates of no affect and certificates of appropriateness.
The Brooklyn Community Foundation is now accepting applications from local residents looking for funding to rebuild and repair their homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
This latest effort by the BCF, known as the Community Grant Rebuilding Program, is focused on physically improving homes and buildings located in Brooklyn’s coastal communities. They are centering their efforts on mold removal, the replacement of heating and electrical systems and structural repairs for one to four family homes, non-profit facilities and buildings used by small businesses.
Here are the relevant details:
Priority will be given to proposals from community development and non-profit housing corporations and other qualified organizations with deep knowledge of and experience with mold removal, mold remediation, and housing and building repair/maintenance. We require partnerships between applicants and local service providers and organizations from each impacted community. Together the partnership should demonstrate an ability to provide an up to date community needs assessment about the status of building repair and a plan of action to help individuals, businesses, and institutions move from “rescue” to recovery and rebuilding. In Red Hook and Coney Island, we will require that all grantees work in partnership with the collaboratives that have been funded through BRF’s first round of recovery grants and will provide you with the information necessary to connect to these organizations.
All funding requests are due no later than Monday, February 4, 2013. We will make every effort to have all funding decisions made by Monday, February 11, 2013.
Brooklyn coastal communities that experienced severe storm damage: Red Hook, the Coney Island peninsula, Sheepshead Bay, Canarsie, and Gerritsen Beach.
A limited number of grants are available, up to $200,000 per impacted community (Red Hook, the Coney Island peninsula, Sheepshead Bay, Canarsie, and Gerritsen Beach).
- Community development and non-profit housing corporations and other qualified organizations who have established or can demonstrate an ability to establish close working relationships with local nonprofits serving communities or residents impacted by Super Storm Sandy.
- Provide brief mission statement and history of your organization.
- What qualifications do you possess to address mold removal, mold remediation, and building repair/maintenance? How will you partner and coordinate with organizations physically located in the impacted community? If you already have an established relationship, who is your/are your partner(s) and what type of partnership currently exists?
- What nonprofits, government entities, and/or community groups have you been working with to address recovery and rebuilding needs?
- If you received prior funding from the BRF, how does this request complement your previous request?
- How will you define and measure the success of this project?
- Be sure that your application includes full contact information (address, telephone, email) for this request’s point person; also include the community where this work will take place.
- Only ONE grantee per impacted community will be selected.
- Please limit your request to no more than 3 pages; not including attachments.
- Required Documents:
1. Organization budget
2. Project budget
3. Most recent IRS 990 Form
4. Most recent Financial Audit (note: if your organization uses a fiscal sponsor, please provide its audit and 990)
5. Board of Directors
Submit via email or fax requested narrative and attachments by Monday, February 4, 2013 to:
Brooklyn Community Foundation
45 Main Street, #409
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Thor’s vision for its Surf Avenue properties. Source: Thor Equities
Thor Equities, the global urban real estate developer, has announced plans to rent parcels at reduced rates in its new building at the corner of Surf Avenue and Stillwell Avenue in an effort to encourage the growth of local small businesses in the area, according to a press release.
“Coney Island’s popularity has reached record proportions, but we can never forget what got us here – local, ahead-of-their-time business owners who brought flair, hipness and edge to the People’s Playground,” announced Thor CEO Joe Sitt, adding, “While it is wonderful that national chains are now coming to Coney, providing needed jobs and year-round revenue to the community, we must always remember the history of this iconic neighborhood.”
So far, reaction to this plan remains skeptical. Amusing The Zillion highlighted a 2008 New York Post article in which Sitt took severe measures against local Coney business operators, by clipping and changing their storefront locks on Christmas Eve, and hanging “For Lease” signs in their storefront windows. Has Sitt pulled a 180 on small businesses?
Another caveat in Sitt’s altruistic gesture to the local small business people of Coney Island is that the rents will only be slashed for 2013. Amusing The Zillion, recalling the documentary “Zipper,” noted that Sitt’s real plans for Coney Island’s future involves installing a series of national chains. In the documentary, Sitt listed Dave and Buster’s, the Hard Rock Cafe, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Howie’s Game Factory as his choices to fill in and replace the Coney landscape.
Thor’s new one-story building is on the spot once occupied by the century-old Henderson Music Hall, a building that was demolished when the city re-zoned it in July 2009. Since being erected last January, the sleek and sterile-looking new building has since been covered with plywood decorated in the Coney Island style, promising “THE RETAIL RIDE OF A LIFETIME,” with info about leasing opportunities.
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the approval of $118 million in Disaster Assistance Loans for businesses and residents affected by Superstorm Sandy. The SBA also extended the filing deadline for physical property damage to January 28, 2013, and the deadline for economic injury applications to July 31, 2013.
In a press release, Frank Skaggs, director of the SBA’s Field Operations Center East, said that, “Currently, 1,945 disaster loans have been approved in the amount of $118,791,500 for affected survivors,” and that, “We are pleased to get these loans approved so residents in the disaster area can start to rebuild and resume their normal lives. I encourage anyone who has not completed their disaster loan application to do so and return it as quickly as possible.”
Those looking to apply, can visit the SBA’s secure website. For further information and additional details on the loan application process and the location of recovery centers, call the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or send an email to email@example.com.
Source: Wikimedia Commons via Wikipedia
Local New York City-based Congressional Representatives are banding together to urge FEMA to extend the deadline for small businesses affected by Superstorm Sandy to apply for disaster aid. A joint letter to FEMA, cosigned by nearly a dozen Congressional Representatives, argues that the deadline, currently set at December 31, is too soon and should be pushed back until May 1, 2013 so small businesses can accurately assess the damages wrought upon their livelihoods.
Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who represents Coney Island, Bensonhurst, and Borough Park, was among those that signed the letter, wrote:
Hurricane Sandy displaced tens of thousands of New Yorkers and shuttered or destroyed thousands of businesses. Despite the tireless work by so many to rebuild and get business and life back to normal, we are still a long way off. Our constituents and businesses still need time to regroup and rebuild and, as such, we are asking FEMA to extend the deadline for small business claims to May 1 to give them a real opportunity to get what they need and deserve.
Thus far, FEMA has already paid out $745 million to individuals and families since the advent of Sandy, with $152.1 million earmarked for Kings County alone, while the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), has approved $85.5 million in loans for businesses, renters, and homeowners. For more information on assistance, you can send an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov, visit sba.gov, or call the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center toll-free number 800-659-2955 (TTY (for hearing impaired) 800-877-8339.)
Small businesses owners, despair!
Last week, we posted about Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s plans to sue Mayor Michael Bloomberg in order to force him to release information regarding fines distributed to small businesses. De Blasio claims that the city is doling out fines irresponsibly to fill city coffers, and the results are hurting neighborhood commerce.
Now, another local politician, Congressman Bob Turner, is calling out President Barack Obama, saying federal taxes and regulations are fueling local unemployment rates.
Turner held a “Stop the Tax Hike” event on Friday, teaming up with the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District and small business owners to speak about the economy and how tax increases affect their businesses and unemployment.
After speaking with several small business owners in the area, Turner claimed that, for the first time in almost three years, business owners say that taxes – as opposed to poor sales – is the most serious issue they are struggling with today.
But while de Blasio blames the city, and Turner blames the fed, Bensonhurst-Bay Ridge Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is blaming the state. In April, Malliotakis held an event with Bay Ridge business owners, telling them that, though there were some pro-business accomplishments in Albany this year, the state is still hurting local businesses with excessive regulations and paperwork, taxes hidden in utility bills, and fees devised to pay off the state’s debt.
So which is hurting small business owner the most? Federal government, state government, or city government? Or are small business woes simply the result of the sluggish economy?