BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
Montclair businesses affected by the COVID pandemic can apply for up to $10,000 to pay the rent under a new state program.
The Small Business Lease – Emergency Assistance Grant Program (SBL-EAGP) will allow businesses in 64 eligible municipalities, including Montclair, to apply for the funds, which will not have to be paid back.
Gov. Phil Murphy said the program will help landlords as well, many of whom are also small businesses.
“The Small Business Lease Emergency Grant Assistance Program is directly geared toward keeping the mom-and-pop shops on main streets and business centers afloat in this time of need, specifically in our most vulnerable communities in New Jersey,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs and Board Chair of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority. “Main streets are where we come to shop, eat, play and worship; they define the town’s character. Each grant may mean one less empty storefront.”
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The SBL-EAGP, managed by the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA), is the first component of a broader Main Street Commercial Corridors Relief Package, which will be paid for with federal CARES Act funding. Through the SBL-EAGP, small businesses located in NJRA’s 64 eligible municipalities that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 will be able to apply for up to $10,000 to assist with lease payments. It will provide grants to:
- Tenants leasing commercial space in mixed-use buildings
- Tenants leasing space in commercial buildings
- Tenants leasing space to operate a storefront business
Businesses with 5,000 square feet of leased space or less can apply.
“We truly want to help the small businesses,” said Leslie Anderson, President and CEO of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority. “Right now New Jersey’s small and micro businesses, particularly those in economically challenged communities, are bearing the brunt of our nation’s health and economic crisis. These businesses deliver value and stability to our state, and yet, struggle to access capital.”
Applications will open Aug. 10 online at www.njra.us. The $6 million in funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
The NJRA has also expanded its microbusiness loan program to offer $50,000 loans for businesses with 10 or fewer employees and revenues of under $1.5 million annually.
“COVID-19 has created multiple, compounding challenges for small business owners. Ensuring they are able to survive the current crisis and rebuild their businesses requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the many difficulties they are facing,” said New Jersey Economic Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan.