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City Almost Out of COVID-19 Recovery Funds

The city of Jamestown has been able to help more than a dozen small businesses and more than two dozen renters with its COVID-19 recovery grants.

On Thursday, city officials announced it has allocated $469,812 to the two programs that were developed after the city received $704,881 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Crystal Surdyk, city development director, said rental assistance grants of $52,512 have been provided to 27 local tenants while 18 small business grants totaling $417,300 have been awarded to local businesses. Businesses and tenants need to provide proof of negative economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Surdyk said altogether 26 small business have applied for loans of up to $20,000. She said once the application is completed for the eight business who haven’t finalized the process, the COVID-19 recovery grant funds will almost be depleted.

“We may actually be out of funds if all the ones in the queue qualify,” Surdyk said. “It’s a first come, first serve program. Once we are out of funds, we are out of funds.”

Businesses that have received a recovery grant include The Pub; Fringe Hair; The Landmark; Escape Rooms Jamestown; Lotus Healing Center; Nouveau Salon & Day Spa; Panache Salon & Day Spa; Sauce; Tarp Skunks; Allen Street Diner; 4 Below Haggy’s Bar and Grill; Jamestown Bowling Company; The Cherry Lounge; The Chop House; Forte; Gialy’s; Shawbucks; and Lisciandros.

When the two programs were announced last month, city officials said there would be $300,000 for each program, with the remaining $104,881 going to administrative cost. However, Surdyk said the need has been greater for small businesses compared to people in need of rental assistance.

“HUD allowed us the flexibility to serve the greatest need. The rental assistance program has been very slow.”

“We have approved some applications, but compared to businesses, we are seeing less of a need,” she said. “Part of that is timing. Folks are still getting assistance from unemployment and more need may arise as we see those programs come to an end.”

Surdyk said both tenants and landlords benefit from the rental assistance program. The Rental Assistance Program provides 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.

“The rental assistance program is almost twofold. It helps the tenant catch-up on back rent and helps the landlord recover some lost income,” she said. “For many landlords, that is there business. This is providing them a little relief, too.”

For more information, call the Department of Development at 483-7659 or visit jamestownny.net/restart to view the applications for both programs.

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