Jersey City small businesses are slated to get over $7 million from CARES Act funding, which has already aided Hudson County with more than $117 million to date, officials announced this morning.
“We’re grateful to the county and for our Congressional delegation who fought for this money that will allow our business owners to hire back local employees, pay outstanding expenses, and retain employees to stimulate and strengthen our local economy as we work to rebuild and strong and resilient foundation,” said Mayor Steven Fulop.
“We are targeting these small business entrepreneurs: local businesses that you know, that you visit, that are vital to our community moving forward.”
The press conference, held in front of the American Laundromat, located at 536 Westside Ave., included local, county, and federal officials, who all collaborated to provide small businesses with financial relief after being ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
“All politicians can say, at one time or another, that the best governments work when everyone works together in coordination. Well this is a wonderful example,” noted County Executive Tom DeGise.
Businesses with 25 or fewer employees that are home-based, mobile, or brick and mortar are eligible for the grant being distributed to each recipient as a $20,000 grant.
The funds must be used for salary expenses, rent or mortgage expenses, equipment leases, finance payments, loan payments, and utility payments incurred since March.
Other requirements include being in good state and federal standings, in regards to registration and tax status, not requiring to be open at the moment, documentation to prove expenses incurred, and being a for-profit business status.
The funds will be released following a vote by the Jersey City City Council next week and more information can be found on the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation website.
Sires, fresh off a definitive win in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, said that he wanted to be present today since he had been advocating for small business relief since he could personally understand their plight.
“I wanted to be here today because I was a small business owner before I became a congressman. I had a small business for 20 years. I know how hard it is to meet a payroll every day. I know how hard it is to make a business go.”
“It was a fight because everyone in Washington, especially the [Senate] majority, thinks that business has to be large and they don’t realize that the communities is made up of small businesses like this [American Laundromat],” Sires added during an interview after the presser concluded.
Jersey City Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) and Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2) both said this funding was vital since the state did not do a good job of making sure unemployment benefits were taken care of or that minority-owned businesses had access to state funds.
“We have constituents who have unemployment claims that haven’t been paid since March. Since March: they can’t pay their rent, now they can’t pay for groceries, and not every employer had access to PPP, had access to a banker to get them in line for the loan,” exclaimed Mukherji.
“I know that Jersey City will again lead because they will learn from the mistake the EDA made. So the money given out by EDA was done in a manner of application that greatly precluded black and Hispanic business owners from being able to access that money,” said O’Dea, who said the online lottery was very inefficient.
During the question and answer session with the media, DeGise told HCV that CARES Act monies have been spent primarily on reimbursing municipalities who lost revenues due to COVID-19, providing small business loans, and providing rental assistance – a program he said will be unveiled in more detail next week.
Other dignitaries in attendance included Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31), Freeholder Jerry Walker (D-3), Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, and Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson, along with American Laundromat owner/West Side Avenue SID President Jake Gergues.