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Flushing organization launches $1M emergency loan fund to aid small businesses displaced in Main Street fire

Flushing FDNY
Scenes from the five-alarm blaze on Main Street in Flushing. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) and Renaissance Economic Development Corp. (REDC) have created the Flushing Downtown Fire Emergency Loan Program, a $1 million loan fund to assist small businesses impacted by the devastating fire on Main Street on March 17. 

 The early morning five-alarm fire gutted the East Commercial Plaza, located at 40-10 Main St., affecting more than 30 small businesses. The fire required 44 units and 198 firefighters, according to the FDNY. 

REDC, an affiliate of AAFE, established a fund just four days after the fire to help the businesses relocate and get back on their feet as soon as possible.

“The moment we heard about this disaster impacting so many small businesses in Flushing, we knew an Emergency Loan Program had to be created immediately,” said Jessie Lee, managing director of REDC. “Our staff is standing by today in downtown Flushing to begin working with small business owners and we will be here every day until each and every small business in need of assistance receives it.”

For immigrant small businesses, the impacts of a fire can be catastrophic at any time, let alone when they’re struggling to emerge from a pandemic, said Jennifer Sun, co-executive director of AAFE. 

“REDC has a long track record as a first responder for our small businesses in times of crisis both in Flushing and throughout New York City. We are committed to getting help to these businesses as quickly as possible to help ensure their survival,” Sun said. 

Councilwoman Sandra Ung, who was at the scene of the inferno, thanked AAFE for setting up the fund so quickly after the tragic fire to provide relief to those small businesses. 

“This was a truly devastating event and we are going to have to utilize all the resources at our disposal, whether they come from city agencies or nonprofits like AAFE, to help these small businesses recover. The Flushing Downtown Fire Emergency Loan Program is an important part of that recovery,” Ung said. 

The loan fund is available to businesses displaced by the fire as well as those impacted by emergency operations and street closures in the immediate area. 

Businesses must be able to show economic losses as a result of the fire and be located in the following areas: along Main Street from 40th Road to Roosevelt Avenue, along Roosevelt Avenue from Main Street to Prince Street and along 40th Road from Main Street to Prince Street. 

Loans are available up to $50,000 with a fixed interest rate of 2%. For more information, contact [email protected] or call 212-964-6022.

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