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Nassau to offer $500,000 in loans to help small businesses hurt by pandemic

A quiet Glen Street in Glen Cove on

A quiet Glen Street in Glen Cove on March 31. Credit: Shelby Knowles

Nassau County will offer $500,000 in loans to help small businesses, nonprofits and landlords struggling during the coronavirus pandemic in a bid to distribute up to $10 million to the entities from a new state lending program.

Nassau officials hope that by contributing $500,000, the county can qualify for up to $10 million from the New York Forward Loan Fund. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo established the $100 million state lending program last week, aimed at helping small businesses and nonprofits reopen.

Richard Kessel, chairman of the Nassau Industrial Development Agency, said the county's Local Economic Assistance Corp. will approve a $250,000 contribution to the new "Boost Nassau" fund at its board meeting on Thursday. The county will supply another $250,000 payment. Entities that won funding from the Paycheck Protection Program, or an Economic Economic Injury Disaster Loan, are not eligible for the state's lending program.

“It was really important to do it now, because our concern was as regions opened up, the money could get gobbled up," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in an interview Monday.

Curran said Nassau was asking the African American and Hispanic chambers of commerce for help in publicizing the program. Applications can be submitted after May 28 at boostnassau.com. The state said that five financial institutions are providing the loans, and Nassau is partnering with the National Development Council.

"We’re making available funds for those businesses who have been shut out, or unable to access some of the federal programs ... and help them invest in reopening and get through this very challenging time period," Kessel said in an interview. "This is a critical component of helping small businesses, particularly in downtowns, come back and come back strong."

The state is limiting the loans to small businesses with 20 employees or fewer and with total annual revenues of $3 million or less. 

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Landlords cannot own more than 200 apartments, or a single property with more than 50, to qualify for funding. They must supply affordable housing to residents in moderate- to low-income neighborhoods. 

The loans need to be paid back over five years and with interest, according to the state. Five percent of the total funding is reserved for nonprofit organizations, while 30% is for eligible landlords and 65% is for small businesses.

The loan can be used for expenses related to reopening, such as marketing and refitting businesses to conform with new social-distancing rules. Money can also be used to pay for rent, property taxes and capital, emergency and operating costs.

A number of businesses are ineligible for the loans, including bank branches, corporate-operated franchises, pawnshops, astrology and palm reading businesses, massage parlors, liquor stores and nightclubs, according to the state's website.

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