Mayor Steven Fulop, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, and local and state legislators announced $7 million in funding for new grants for local small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hudson County was allocated more than $117 million through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Securities (CARES) Act, which was signed by the president in March to provide $2 trillion in financial aid to families and businesses across the nation impacted by the health and economic crisis.
“Throughout this crisis, we have worked on the city level to prepare for the post-pandemic aftermath by expanding various city resources and services, and this federal aid will bolster those efforts to ensure our residents and businesses can get back on their feet as swiftly as possible,” Fulop said.
“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 a strong and resilient foundation.”
“This stimulus funding is critical to the survival of many of our small businesses struggling after months of revenue losses and bills piling up,” said Hudson County Executive DeGise. “Jersey City is the largest municipality in our county, with hundreds of business owners who will greatly benefit from this financial boost during the most challenging of times. We’re encouraged by the work already underway, and will continue to work with our municipalities to further foster recovery efforts.”
Grants of up to $20,000 will be made available to local businesses with 25 or fewer employees that are home-based, mobile, or brick and mortar.
The funds must be used for salary expenses, rent or mortgage expenses, equipment leases, finance payments, loan payments, and utility payments incurred since March.
Businesses eligible for the grant must be based in Jersey City, must be for-profit, must be in good standing with federal and state governments in regard to taxes and registrations, and must provide documentation proving the businesses’ expenses.
Businesses do not need to currently be open to apply for the grants, which will become available to the public on July 16 through the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation website at JCEDC.org.
“What this grant means to my family and all other small business owners’ families is survival. It means hope. It means we’ll see another day,” said Jake Gergas, third-generation owner of American Laundromat and president of the West Side Special Improvement District. “With the city’s assistance, we’re doing what we can to survive, and with this grant, we feel like we’re almost at the finish line. We’re very appreciative.”
“The funding that Jersey City is receiving is a much needed federal support as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,’ said Rep. Albio Sires. “As Congress continues to craft response legislation, I will fight for our community to receive the assistance it needs to recover.”
DeGise said more funding for struggling residents and businesses could become available in the coming weeks, noting that in the next few weeks the county will seek to provide rental assistance with CARES Act funding as well as other grant programs for businesses in other Hudson County cities.
So far the county has used some of the funds to help reimburse cities across the county who have spent municipal dollars on COVID-19 expenses. DeGise said some of the funds have also been used to help distribute thousands of meals to families in need in North Hudson as well as Harrison and East Newark.
Jersey City has taken several steps to try and help local residents and businesses recover from the pandemic, including expanding outdoor dining and offering testing and supplies to help business owners comply with new COVID-19 mandates, installing Slow Streets and Pedestrian Plazas, and working to identify areas where the city can help store owners stay open.
The mayor’s COVID-19 Relief Distribution Fund has also raised roughly $2 million in private donations to directly support community-based nonprofits, youth and arts programming, as well as services and grant support to low-income residents impacted by the pandemic.