While the outer boroughs have been disproportionately hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses in Manhattan have gotten the majority of assistance from the city.
According to the city's Small Business Services agency on Wednesday, around $8 million of the $20 million loan program for struggling small businesses has been disbursed, with 66 percent going to Manhattan-based shops. Bronx business owners have received less than one percent—around $80,000—while those in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island have received 18 percent, 9 percent, and 5 percent, respectively.
The figures, revealed by the SBS commissioner Gregg Bishop during a New York City Council Small Business Committee hearing on Wednesday, agitated chair and Bronx Councilmember Mark Gjonaj.
“One percent of the loans went to the borough of the Bronx and 66% went to Manhattan?” Gjonaj asked . “And we know that most of these small businesses exist in the outer boroughs, so already we see a huge disparity here on how these loans are being [disbursed].”
The program is part of a $49 million loan and grant program created by the de Blasio administration to serve as a lifeline to businesses struggling to remain open after the pandemic—$10 million in loans and $39 million in grants.
Of the $39 million in grants, $29 million has been disbursed; 3 percent has gone to Bronx and Staten Island businesses respectively, 16 percent to businesses in Queens, 25 percent to shops in Brooklyn, and 53 percent to businesses in Manhattan.