Vallone calls on Congress to include co-ops and condos in CARES Act relief package

Courtesy of City Council

Northeast Queens Councilman Paul Vallone will introduce a resolution Wednesday calling on Congress and President Trump to expand the CARES Act and Payroll Protection Program to include considerations for housing cooperatives and condominiums, allowing them to access critical PPP loans processed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The White House and Congress appear to be close to a $470 billion relief package that would replenish funding in the PPP for small businesses that were left out of the initial round of the bailout.

“As our city persists through the COVID-19 crisis, we must protect a cornerstone of our local communities,” Vallone said. “Our co-ops and condos provide a vital affordable, middle-class housing option to hundreds of thousands of our New Yorkers. The next iteration of the Payroll Protection Program must extend this lifeline to our cooperative and condominium owners and tenants, who too are facing immense hardship paying their essential workers and maintaining other critical operating expenses during this public health crisis.”

The PPP provides cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic and if employers maintain their payroll, the loans are forgiven. Similar to small businesses, cooperative and condominium owners and tenants are facing a number of hardships including declining revenues from shareholders who have lost their jobs, declining rental income from commercial tenants and vacant apartments that are unsold due to the current market. Many also report the inability to pay their essential workers, which will undoubtedly hurt tenant populations, many of whom are homebound seniors.

“This week I sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Carranza urging them to make residential housing cooperatives and condominium associations eligible for Payroll Protection Program loans under the CARES Act,” Congressman Tom Suozzi said. “I fully support Council member Vallone and the rest of the City Council in their efforts to ensure the financial stability of the thousand of housing cooperatives and condominiums throughout the New York metropolitan area.”

The President’s Co-op & Condominium Council, an organization located in New York City representing more than 100,000 units of affordable cooperative and condominium housing units, has issued a letter to Congressional leadership in support of the Vallone resolution.

“Co-op shareholders in New York City have been especially hard hit by the coronavirus, both medically and financially,” President’s Co-op & Condominium Council General Counsel Geoffrey Mazel said. “Many affected co-ops are located in Queens, the epicenter of the epicenter. The PPP loan would provide much-needed relief for these hard-hit housing cooperatives.”

A total of 22 council members have already signed on as prime sponsors to support Vallone’s resolution.

“New York’s housing cooperatives and condominiums may face the same financial uncertainty as other businesses,” Bay Club’s Board of Managers Vice President Yacov Pshtissky said. “Their revenues could decline as some tenants struggle to make their monthly maintenance payments. At the same time, we’re seeing utility costs rise as tenants spend more time in their units.”

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