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Jersey City COVID-19 Community Relief Fund seeks donors

Small businesses in Jersey City as well as seniors, and low-income families, will be supported through the new Jersey City COVID-19 Community Relief Program.
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Small businesses in Jersey City as well as seniors, and low-income families, will be supported through the new Jersey City COVID-19 Community Relief Program.

The Jersey City COVID-19 Community Relief Program is now accepting private donations to minimize hardships for low-income families and seniors by improving access to food and other necessities.

The Relief Fund will invest in the local economy by helping small businesses and nonprofits get back on their feet.

The city raised $1.5 million in the first 48 hours with the fund goal set at $3 million.

“We are in the midst of unprecedented times, and I have no doubt we will overcome the challenges we’re facing if we work together to support one another,” said Mayor Steven Fulop. “This Relief Program will be a great resource for our most vulnerable residents and businesses who are the backbone of our community.”

The Jersey City program will be administered through the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation (JCEDC), a 501c3 nonprofit.

Donations can be made through the JCEDC website at www.jcedc.org.

All donations will use community programs to address the needs of seniors, low-income families, and youth.

The Fulop Administration has introduced support for small businesses facing financial hardships due to COVID-19 with a 100 percent match on state grants.

“The city is working daily to protect the health and safety of residents. However, we need the community’s support to address the full scope of this crisis,” said Vice Chair of the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation Vivian Brady-Philips.

“We know that many of our community members — both local businesses and concerned residents— want to help address this crisis, so we have set a goal of raising $3 million for the Jersey City Relief Fund to support citywide initiatives that will help the city not only recover, but also continue to move forward.”

Tax deductible donations can be made to the “Jersey City Economic Development Corporation.”

“As local governments nationwide face the current COVID-19 crisis and the anticipated financial fallout, we’re working to mitigate the impact on our community as much as is possible. This Relief Fund is our latest step in providing support and financial relief to those who need it most,” Fulop said.

In the works

Next week, the City Council is scheduled to vote on an introductory ordinance which aims to protect renters of rent-controlled buildings during the crisis.

The ordinance would impose a rent freeze on all units subject to rent control as of March 15 until August 1, and prohibit any collection of a penalty for late payment of rent as a result of the current public health emergency declared by Gov. Phil Murphy.

“We are also working on a right to counsel for renters,” Fulop said.

According to Fulop, the city is trying to set up infrastructure to ensure that every renter has legal representation.

“We know we are going to go through a process here where people are going to be looking to evict tenants or be overly aggressive and we want to make sure some of our residents that are more economically challenged have fair and legal representation,” said Fulop.

The city is also working with the religious community to get individuals mental health counseling.

“All of us can use it during these times,” Fulop said. “There is nothing shameful about that. People are going through some tough times right now and if there is somebody that you want to speak to in confidence the city has worked with a lot of pastors and we have a big group of them right now that have volunteered to be a resource.”

He said individuals looking to speak to someone can reach out to the city, and the city will connect them with somebody “in a discrete and appropriate way.”

For more information on this and other related relief programs visit www.jcnj.org/coronavirus.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.

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