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Dromm, Asian Americans for Equality help small businesses hurt by water main break

A water main break in Jackson Heights wreaked havok with subways and caused economic hardship for area businesses which are being helped by two non-profits with emergency loans.
Courtesy of Candace McCowan/WABC-TV
By Bill Parry

Several small businesses were flooded in parts of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst on Jan. 12 when an 80-year-old water main broke open at Broadway and 74th Street. Many of the businesses that were not damaged by the flood lost revenue because of street closures, emergency vehicles and repairs during the cleanup effort.

City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Asian Americans for Equality and its affiliate Renaissance Economic Development Corporation announced last week they started office hours at Dromm’s district office to provide emergency loans and small-business technical assistance to support the businesses that were affected.

“These emergency loans are a lifeline to local businesses that were impacted by the recent water main break,” Dromm said. “Many business owners in my district are recent immigrants struggling to make ends meet.

“Store closure, flood damage, and loss of vehicular and foot traffic has resulted in thousands of dollars in repair costs and lost revenue for some businesses. These low-interest loans will help owners overcome these challenges and get their businesses back in operation. I am pleased to work alongside AAFE to support Jackson Heights and Elmhurst entrepreneurs in their time of need.”

The Elmhurst/Jackson Heights Emergency Loan Program was made available for emergency purposes to all small businesses in the boundary area south of Roosevelt Avenue to the north side of 41st Avenue, and the east side of 73rd Street to the west side of 75th Street. Program services will be made in Chinese, Spanish and Korean.

“For a small business, a flood can mean losing everything,” AAFE Interim Executive Director Doris Koo said. “With this new loan program, we can give these businesses an immediate helping hand and get them back on their feet. This program is important for those businesses that were directly damaged by the flood and also businesses in the immediate are that are adversely impacted.

“In a difficult time like this, many immigrant- and minority-owned small business have a hard time finding access to affordable capital, and this program offers very low interest rates and provides support to business owners in their native language.”

The loans include a uniform 2 percent fixed interest rate with amounts up to $30,000, with a three- to six-month deferment of interest and principal available with terms of up to five years, including the deferment period. Loans can be received in as little as 72 hours after paperwork is filed.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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