Congressman Gregory Meeks on Wednesday, March 15, met with local small business owners, community leaders and staff at Chhaya Community Development Corporation’s (CDC) Richmond Hill office, where he presented a $150,000 check to support the expansion of Chhaya’s small business program.
The congressman’s remarks focused on the indispensable role local, independently owned businesses play in communities and reaffirmed his support for initiatives that bolster their success and stability.
“The $150,000 in federal funding awarded to Chhaya CDC provides recipients of the small business assistance program with the financial support they need to operate when experiencing economic hardships,” Meeks said. “I am excited about the many possibilities that this funding provides for small business owners looking to expand and maintain their companies.”
Chhaya was founded in 2000 to address the housing and economic needs of low-income South Asian and Indo-Caribbean New Yorkers. The organization’s main office is located in Jackson Heights at 37-43 77th St., and its Richmond Hill office is located at 121-18 Liberty Ave.
Chhaya’s mission is to build power, housing stability, and economic wellbeing of its communities, according to Annetta Seecharran, executive director of Chhaya CDC.
While Chhaya is known for its housing work, the organization’s small business program has provided essential assistance and services to a diverse population of small business owners in Queens. Those services include financial counseling, marketing and social media support, legal assistance, and more. Chhaya’s team also provides technical assistance with grant and loan applications, as well as resources to help businesses navigate the changing regulatory environment.
“This neighborhood does not have a proper multi-service center dedicated to this community, but yet people figure it out,” Seecharran said. “This investment will allow us to take a bigger step forward in stabilizing the services here in the community. It is important that small businesses stay here and aren’t replaced by big box stores and gentrification.”
Seecharran said they will be looking to business owners for insight and guidance in terms of what they need in the district.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, providing jobs and critical resources. As the city continues to change and transform at a rapid pace, these businesses are not safe from displacement or gentrification,” Seecharran said. “We are excited about this incredible opportunity from Congressman Meeks and this support is so meaningful as we lean in and focus on ensuring the stability of this community.”