Albany officials announced a series of programs today designed to provide funding to individuals and businesses in the city of Albany directly impacted by COVID-19 and Saturday’s riots.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says local businesses were getting ready to reopen this week, with the Capital Region expected to move into Phase 2 Wednesday.
"The sun rose on Sunday morning and we saw the damage that was done to small businesses that are, really the lifeblood of our community. These are small businesses that employ our residents. These are small businesses, many of them owned by people who live here in the city of Albany, many of them minority-owned businesses. And they also provide essential services in neighborhoods that are underserviced."
Capitalize Albany Corporation is responding by setting up a business donation fund to make grants available to every city business impacted by Saturday's riots. CAC President Sarah Reginelli:
"We are very grateful to be in a position where we can help our local small businesses. They are the backbone of our community. They're also our neighbors and running a business in this current environment is incredibly challenging. As the mayor said, we were just getting ready to reopen and the stumbling block that was placed in front of these business owners over the weekend will prove to be insurmountable for many and so the program that we are able to mobilize quickly, starting this week, will allow those business owners, who were impacted by this weekend's event to come in and ask for relief and assistance to help mitigate those those damages."
Regenelli says the CAC team will work directly with the business owners. Mayor Sheehan also announced another series of grants to aid residents and businesses impacted by COVID-19. Funding priorities were based on a community-wide survey completed in March.
"We had more than 300 responses to that. We wanted to find out from the community what the needs were. How can make sure that the small amount of dollars that we are receiving are spent in the most productive way."
Sheehan says $400,000 in funding, earmarked for grants of up to $15,000 each, will be given to community-based organization that provide meals, groceries and other neccessities to Albany residents. The money can also be used to for provisioning broadband services and secure PPE and cleaning supplies for low income residents.
"Albany is going to lead in showing how we move through and toward a better city and a better relationship with the police departmentand a better future for all of our residents as well as our businesses."
Additionally, $300,000 in funding is to be awarded in grants of up to $60,000 to provide opportunities for summer camp or day care for low to moderate income youth in the city.
$250,000 is to go to various organizations to provide city residents with rent or mortgage assistance.
In response to the damage done to numerous City businesses over the weekend, applications will be made available as part of an emergency response using the City of Albany Small Business Façade Improvement and Retail Grant programs administered by Capitalize Albany Corporation. Application fees and investment match requirements will be waived to ensure there are no impediments to local businesses most at risk — minority or women-owned businesses and those that were directly impacted by the recent violence. Additional details will be made available this week, along with the posting of a program application and guidelines on the Corporation’s website at www.CapitalizeAlbany.com.