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City Creates COVID-19 Assistance Programs

Crystal Surdyk

By Dennis Phillips

dphillips@post-journal.com

Financial assistance from the city of Jamestown is available for renters and business owners who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crystal Surdyk, city development director, announced late last week that the two programs were made possible because of CARES Act funding provided by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development to local municipalities to assist those impacted by the pandemic. Surdyk said the city received $704,881, with $300,000 being released for each grant program and $104,881 for administering the programs.

The programs will include a Rental Assistance Grant for tenants whose household income has been reduced as a result of the pandemic. There will also be a Small Business Relief Grant available to for-profit businesses that have suffered financial losses as a result of the statewide shutdown of businesses in response to the pandemic.

The Rental Assistance Program will provide up to $1,500 to assist tenants whose employment has been negatively impacted by the state’s response to COVID-19 and are not receiving rental assistance through other agencies. Tenants must have documentation of job loss or reduction in hours due to COVID-19, provide pay stubs for the last three months of employment for all occupants of the household over the age of eighteen, provide proof of residency and a rental agreement signed by both the tenant and the landlord.

The Small Business Relief Grant will provide flexible funding assistance to for-profit businesses in the city that employ up to 50 employees. Businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to $20,000 for the purposes of reopening and recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses will be required to provide proof of economic injury due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Surdyk said city officials believe they will be able to assist around 200 individuals with the rental assistance program and between 15 to 60 businesses, which will depend on the size of the grants awarded. She said funding will be available until the funds are depleted.

Surdyk said upon notification from HUD that the CARES Act funding had been allocated, the Department of Development staff began the process of information gathering and seeking input from a number of agencies and organizations throughout the community.

“The (Department of Development) coordinated two roundtable discussions regarding the most urgent needs of our community and how we can all work together to coordinate the sharing of resources and to brainstorm ways we can complement each other’s available programs, and offerings for assistance to benefit those who have been the most adversely impacted by this pandemic,” she said. “As we developed our plan for the use of these grant funds, we had to consider approaches that prioritize the unique needs of low- and moderate-income persons and the development of partnerships between all levels of government and the private for-profit and non-profit sectors. As these funds are allocated by HUD, CDBG (COVID-19) grants are subject to oversight, reporting and requirements that each grantee have adequate procedures in place to prevent the duplication of benefits.”

Both CDBG COVID-19 grant programs are currently available and applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. For more information and to view the applications, visit jamestownny.net/restart.

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