COVID-19 Guide: Getting Help & Giving Help

Wed, Mar 25th, 2020

UPDATED FRIDAY, APRIL 3RD, 2020 10:30AM

Below is an ever-growing and evolving list of resources and updates for neighbors around Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene & Clinton Hill regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

On “Pause”

Effective Sunday, March 22 at 8pm: all non-essential businesses are ordered to close. View the State’s list to view a full list of essential and non-essential. Restaurants can continue to operate on delivery or take-out basis only. Please visit our page to see what businesses are still operating on Myrtle.

Staying Healthy

Get the latest information and updates on COVID-19 from the NYC Department of Health. To receive real-time New York City COVID-19 updates, text “COVID” to 692-692.

Keeping Yourself & Others Healthy

Visit the Department of Health’s website for a full list of measures everyone needs to take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This includes regular and proper handwashing, social distancing, and isolating yourself if you feel sick.

Mental Health Support

If you have experienced difficulty managing your anxiety and fear levels during this crisis, visit the Office of Mental Health website for FREE Mental Health support. This website includes resources for people who are looking for help but also for those who are looking to help and volunteer.


Resources For Businesses

The Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership continues to track the latest resources for businesses and is advocating with local elected officials, city agencies and small business service organizations for resources that can assist Myrtle’s small business owners and employees.

For the latest guidelines, tips and FAQs for small businesses from the City of New York, please click here or sign-up for updates by e-mail.

Lease and Rent Assistance

At this time there is no formal rent or mortgage grace period enacted in NYC, which means you are still obligated to make your rent payments. A 90-day moratorium is in effect for commercial leave evictions (meaning your landlord can’t begin to take you to court until mid-June. Similarly, the governor has requested (not required) lenders to impose a 90-day grace period on mortgages.

The New York State Senate has proposed Bill S8125A which calls for the suspension of rent payments for certain residential tenants and small business commercial tenants and certain mortgage payments for ninety days in response to the outbreak of covid-19. This is currently a proposal at this point and has not been enacted. Click here for more information.

To help advocate that the City, State, or Federal government pass rent relief, visit MyGovNYC.org to find a full list of your elected representatives and their phone numbers. 

If you are a business owner and have questions regarding your lease, please contact Brooklyn Legal Services at 718-487-2375 or business@bka.org (it’s free!).

Financial Aid (Federal and City)

  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Loan Advance: this loan awards a loan advance of $10,000, disbursed within three days of application approval. This grant does not need to be paid back. Any EIDL loans you take beyond this $10,000 amount will need to be paid back. Businesses are eligible to borrow up to $2 million through the EIDL loan program, which carries an interest rate up to 3.75 percent, as well as principal and interest deferment for up to 4 years. The loans may be used to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses.  

To apply for EIDL loan advance, click here. This video can assist you in completing the application. You may begin to apply for a loan on Friday, April 3 directly through your prefered lender or bank.

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Businesses can apply for a “loan” that can help cover payroll and other expenses from now through June 30. The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities, with at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll. Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees. Loan forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender and view a sample application here.
  • For anyone who has an existing loan that was backed by the SBA (typically these are called 7(a) or 504 loans), your payments for the next 6 months can be covered by the federal government and you won’t owe anything (principal, interest, fees) on it during that 6-month window. Contact your lender for more information.
  • For more details on EIDL Loans and the PPP, click here for an “explainer sheet” on how the aid package addresses small businesses in particular, or visit the Small Business Guidance and Loan Resource page on the SBA website. For assistance in filling out applications, schedule an appointment with a representative from the Brooklyn Small Business Development Center by calling (718) 797-0187.

 

  • NYC Employee Retention Grant: businesses with less than 5 employees can now apply for a grant to cover up to 40% of payroll expenses for up to two months. Apply here, before the April 3rd, 2020 cut off at 5pm. After that you will be directed to apply for the Small Business Continuity Fund (below) or the SBA loans mentioned above.
  • NYC Small Business Continuity Fund: offering zero-interest loans up to $75,000 for businesses with 100 employees are less. For more information and to apply, click here. 
  • Sick Pay Reimbursement: The IRS announced 100% reimbursement for small businesses for costs incurred when providing staff with paid sick leave related to COVID-19, available as a payroll tax credit. For full details, please visit the IRS’ website and consultant with your accountant.

Small Business Grants From Private Companies

  • Facebook has also recently announced a grant program aimed at small businesses. For more information, click here.
  • Verizon Wireless, through a $2.5 million investment, is launching a Small Business Recovery Fund, that awards up to $10k per qualifying applicant. Click here for more details and to register.  

Tax & Utility Waivers and Suspensions

  • New York State is waiving late and penalty fees for sales tax that is paid late. The federal tax deadline has been extended to July 15.
  • When filing business or excise tax payments to The City of New York, businesses can request to have penalties waived when submitting a late-filed extension or return. For information, visit the Department of Finance.
  • ConEd and National Grid has suspended shut-offs for any customers who may have difficulty paying their utility bills.

Resources for Employees

If you are a worker who has experienced a lay-off or reduction in ours, please review these resources. If you are a business owner, please share these with your staff.

  • Mental Health Services for Service Workers.
  • This easy questionnaire from the City will help you identify benefits like food and rent assistance that you are eligible for.
  • To file an unemployment claim, click here.
  • For kitchen staff, apply for a food prep position at Rethink Food in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. They are currently hiring more staff to help them meet the rising demand for emergency response food service.

Resources for Community Members and Customers

Accessing Free or Low-Cost Food

  • Monday-Friday: suggested $3 lunch at Rethink Cafe (154 Clinton, just off Myrtle) between 11am-3pm. Meals will be provided to anyone regardless if they can pay the $3 or not.
  • Monday-Friday: three meals a day are available to grab-and-go from select NYC public schools, including PS 67 on St. Edwards St between Myrtle & Park Aves, for K-12 students from 7:30am-1:30pm. All meals can be picked up at the same day. To find which schools will be distributing meals and for a planned menu, visit schools.nyc.gov/freemeals.
  • EVERYDAY: free lunch for seniors 60+ is being delivered by the NYC Department of the Aging. To sign-up, please call (212) 244-6469 or 311. Note: meals are no longer available to pick up from senior centers.
  • To find a local food pantry or sign-up for food delivery service, please call 3-1-1

Overcharging

If you witness overcharging in businesses, you are encouraged to report this to the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs by calling 3-1-1 and saying “overcharge” or by visiting 311.nyc.gov and searching “overcharge.”


Resources For Neighbors Looking to Help

Supporting Local Businesses & Impacted Employees

We are encouraging everyone to continue to safely support local businesses and their employees. View our Business Support Guide for a full list of current deals, offers, adjusted services and innovative ways to support Myrtle Avenue’s local businesses.

Below are links to sites where customers can donate to support impacted workers and where impacted workers can apply for assistance from recently created worker support funds.

Please be advised that the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership is not affiliated with any of these donation sites or campaigns and cannot guarantee how donated funds will be used

Supporting High-Risk Neighbors

You add your name to a growing list of neighbors on Fort Greene-Clinton Hill Mutual Aid group who are looking to help locals with any needs. Or sign-up through Invisible Hands.

Similarly, No Neighbors In Need NYC is a great place to find ways to donate, help neighbors, or submit ideas for advocacy, citywide.

If you already know a neighbor who may be in need of assistance, please check in with them.

Donate or Volunteer

A number of non-profits are continuing or expanding their foodservice operations, offering door-to-door delivery of food to seniors or those with mobility issues. Below is a growing list of organizations looking for donations of money or volunteers:


Additional Resources

In an effort to connect you to as many resources as possible, we are gathering citywide information and will post here.

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