NEWARK, NJ – Newark residents and small businesses may be eligible for financial assistance after the city announced this week that it received $ 88.3 million under the American Rescue Plan Act to help address the effects of COVID -19 to overcome the local economy.
The funds, according to city officials, will be used to stabilize the city’s finances due to lost revenue and get funds into the hands of residents and small businesses who have suffered from the pandemic. The city will also use the funds to tackle homelessness, affordable housing, and economic and food insecurity.
“This is the latest move by the federal government in helping our economic recovery from the stress and damage caused by COVID-19,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. “We will put these funds in the hands of the people in our city to relieve them and give them the financial instruments they need to restart our economy.”
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Before the money was distributed to residents and business owners, TAPinto Newark contacted city officials to find out how federal aid would be administered and allocated.
When asked what the specific procedure for applying for the aid will be and how it will be reviewed, Crystal Rosa, spokeswoman for the city’s communications department, said the city’s finance team is still in the process of finalizing the multi-party procedures for the Aid are eligible.
Procedures that have not yet been completed include rent assistance; direct compensation to residents affected by the pandemic; Small business support for businesses other than restaurants that are separately funded by the state and the Fed; and development aid to low and middle income housing to accommodate those affected by COVID.
“We expect the rental and business assistance application process will be similar to the one used previously,” said Rosa.
The federal funds are administered by the city finance team, led by city administrator Eric Pennington. The funds will be provided by Pennington and the finance team, which includes members of his office, city treasurer Danielle Smith and city budget manager Darlene Tate.
When allocating the money, the city officials stated that there will be administrative costs associated with the administration and delivery of funds. However, Rosa noted that the city will work to minimize these costs “to get the maximum amount into the hands of residents and local businesses who need it most”.
“When the city uses an outside facility to facilitate the dispensing of funds, that facility is chosen with the goal of getting money to people quickly and fairly,” she said. “The city will require that residents be hired from an outside agency chosen to manage the disbursement of funds.”
Once the funds have been released to local residents and business owners, officials said the federal government is also requiring regular reporting. The routine reports, Rosa explained, are part of an intermediate rule by the finance department.
As plans to set up the application process are finalized, officials said the city will also host several virtual meetings with residents to discuss how the funds will be used.
The city will host the virtual community meetings on its Facebook page on:
- May 25, 6:30 p.m.
- June 2, 6:30 p.m.
- June 3, noon
Translation services will be provided, officials said.
The City of Newark’s Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/CityofNewark/.
For more information about the American Rescue Plan, see American-Rescue-Plan-Fact-Sheet.pdf (whitehouse.gov).