Long Island Main Street News February 23rd, 2021

presented by Vision Long Island and the Long Island Main Street Alliance

February 23rd, 2021

Quote of the Week

“Small businesses are the engines of our economic progress. They’re the glue, and the heart and soul of our communities. But they’re getting crushed.” – United States President Joe Biden
 “Our people can’t keep waiting. The state has not taken us seriously, so we have been forced to play the hand we were dealt.” – Shinnecock Tribal Council Chairman Bryan Polite
“The vast majority of Long Islanders support their downtown areas, which is not a shock at all to the folks working, living and frequenting them. A large percentage also want to see continued and expanded safe, walkable public spaces for dining and recreation downtown.” – Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island and Long Island Main Street Alliance

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Smallest Businesses Moved to Front of the Line in SBA PPP Program

On Monday, February 22nd, President Joe Biden announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which includes a two-week window that only allows businesses with fewer than 20 employees to apply. The two-week period will start Wednesday, February 24th.

“Small businesses are the engines of our economic progress. They’re the glue, and the heart and soul of our communities. But they’re getting crushed,” President Biden said during remarks at a White House event to unveil the changes.

“Spread the word,” states Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island and Long Island Main Street Alliance. “This is a really important rule change in the PPP loan process and it is helpful for small businesses. This move allows the smallest businesses to move up in line, giving an advantage to the ones who need it most, and hopefully helping to prevent the problems encountered last year.”

Summary of the five changes announced Monday:

  • Starting Wednesday, only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for loans for a two-week period;
  • Changes in the PPP loan calculation formula will help sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals receive more financial support. In addition, $1 billion will be set aside for businesses in this category that do not have employees and are located in low- and moderate-income areas. Details of the changes have not yet been released;
  • Eliminate a restriction preventing small business owners with prior nonfraud felony convictions from obtaining relief through the PPP;
  • Remove a rule preventing small business owners who are delinquent on federal student loan payments from securing a PPP loan;
  • Allow noncitizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents to use individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) to apply for relief.

Note, the Second Draw PPP Loan ends March 31, 2021.

You can view more information here.

You can apply for the program here.

James Madore’s Newsday story, in which members of the Main Street Alliance are quoted, can be read here.

Sienna College Poll Shows Vast Majority of Long Islanders Prefer Downtowns

In another bit of good news a poll was released by Siena College, commissioned by Newsday and the LIA, which reminded us how much Long Islanders love their downtowns.  The survey showed that 93% are concerned about local downtown areas and that 96% of residents also want to see them improved.

“The vast majority of Long Islanders support their downtown areas, which is not a shock at all to the folks working, living and frequenting them,” explains Eric Alexander, Director of Vision Long Island and Long Island Main Street Alliance. “A large percentage also want to see continued and expanded safe, walkable public spaces for dining and recreation downtown.”

There was a time a couple of decades ago where those numbers were easily half of what we’re seeing.  Big box stores and chain restaurants where the dominant experience in the region.  It is heartening to see residents acknowledging that what they have in their own downtowns is more attractive than large box store developments.  The “shop local” movement, outdoor spaces, and the investment of housing in our downtowns have done a lot to keep Main Streets operating through the pandemic.

Some of the results pertaining to downtowns included:

  • Pre-pandemic, most were visiting downtowns one to three times a week or at least once a month but less than weekly.
  • 71% of respondents said vibrant local downtowns areas are very important to the quality of life on Long Island.
  • The most common activity pre-pandemic was to go to restaurants, bars or cafes, and 86% reported they are doing that less now.
  • On what they hope downtown areas of the future are like, the favorite was “a mixture of local businesses, and service providers situated alongside central streets providing residents with a way to meet their shopping and service needs.”

Unfortunately, also according to the survey, the pandemic may restrict downtown business going forward.  Around a quarter of those surveyed said they plan to use downtowns less often due to fear of a lingering virus.  Other participants have cited loss of jobs and economic distress as reasons that they will spend less times in their local downtowns.  There’s also a small number of people who have just become used to conducting business online and don’t see a reason to head to downtowns when they can order things on the internet.

The Siena College Research Institute ran its public opinion poll from January 20th through February 1st of 2021.  1,400 Nassau County and Suffolk County residents, 18 years of age and older, were surveyed.  The survey was conducted via telephone to both landline and cell phones and via the internet to a panel of respondents in specified zip codes to enhance the demographic distribution of the sample.  The survey had a plus or minus margin of error of 3%.

You can view the complete results of the survey here, and check out Newsday’s write up of the results here.

New York Announces Reopening of Entertainment Centers

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that indoor family entertainment centers and places of amusement can open with a 25 percent capacity limit beginning Friday, March 26.  Outdoor amusement parks can open with a 33 percent capacity limit beginning Friday, April 9.

All facilities must submit reopening plans with health protocols to the local health department.  Face coverings and social distancing will be required for all customers and staff, and customers will be required to have a health screening with temperature checks prior to entry.  

Additionally, day and overnight summer camps in New York State can begin to plan for reopening.  The Department of Health will issue specific reopening guidance, including details on timing, in the coming weeks.

“In New York, we base our decisions on the science and data and adjust as the virus adjusts,” Governor Cuomo said. “With continued decreases in the infection and hospitalization rates, we have been able to take steps toward beginning our post-COVID recovery and we are excited to now be in a place where we can bring back our recreational industries with safety protocols in place.”

In addition to face coverings, social distancing and mandatory health screenings, all indoor family and entertainment centers and places of amusement, and outdoor amusement parks, must follow the below guidelines:

  • Contact information must be collected from each party to inform contact tracing, if needed;
  • High-touch areas, attractions, and rides must be cleaned and disinfected frequently throughout the day; 
  • Attractions must close if they cannot ensure distancing and be frequently cleaned/disinfected;
  • Sufficient staff must be deployed to enforce compliance with rules, including capacity, distancing and face coverings;
  • Tickets should be sold in advance, and entry/exit and waiting times should be staggered to avoid congestion;
  • Indoor areas must meet enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards; and
  • Retail, food services and recreational activities must abide by all State-issued guidance.

You can read the Governor’s full statement here.

Shinnecock Nation Announces Plans for Casino on Tribal Land

This past Wednesday saw the Shinnecock Nation announce plans for 76,000 square foot casino to be built on tribal lands this summer.

Plans for what is to be named the Shinnecock Casino Hamptons were approved in a tribal vote this past December and will not be subject to local zoning laws.  The tribe has also received pending approval from National Indian Gaming commission, to be completed after an environmental review is conducted on the 11 acres of land will being set aside in Southampton.  It will be located off of Montauk highway and just east of West Gate Road.

The new casino will include 1,000 video lottery terminals and 30 tables for Texas Hold’Em poker.  That makes it a Class II gaming facility, which is limited to small-stakes games and electronic gaming machines.  To become a full casino, the Shinnecock nation will need to apply to become a Class III facility, which would require a compact with the Governor’s Office.

The Nation’s neighbors are opposed to plans to build a gaming facility at the site the tribe has announced.  Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and State Assemblyman Fred Thiele have both pushed back on the location, citing the traffic and environmental issues that would be raised.  They also expressed disappointment over using gambling as an economic development tool.

“It’s hard to imagine a worse location from a traffic standpoint and an environmental standpoint, and I think they know that too,” said Schneiderman.

Still, the Shinnecocks are moving forward with the plans after years of trying to spur economic development for their Nation.  They have been working with New York State for 20 years to try and find an alternative site for the casino before finally deciding to make room on tribal territory in Southampton.  They have also met with resistance when trying to get approval for other plans on tribal land, including a medical cannabis dispensary and digital billboards.

 “Our people can’t keep waiting,” said Shinnecock Tribal Council Chairman Bryan Polite.  “The state has not taken us seriously, so we have been forced to play the hand we were dealt.”

Vision has been asked their position on this project.   Vision’s Director Eric Alexander provided this initial statement:

“Casino gaming was originally intended to be in place to provide support to tribal Indian nations – has in recent years been taken over largely by New York State and local County OTB operations.  Suffolk OTB is looking to now open a second facility with no benefit going to the Shinnecock Tribal Nation. 

Vision joined efforts in opposition to tribal nations past plans to build casino’s in Westbury, Elmont, East Meadow, Uniondale and other areas in Nassau and Suffolk County.   We did this based on the rights of local communities and property owners being able to plan their future and not have it imposed upon them from folks outside the community.

The Shinnecock Nation is able to build a casino on their own land and their community supports their decision.  Most communities across Long Island do not want a casino next door so it is pretty clear that for the Shinnecock Nation to have the opportunity to build one and receive economic benefits that entails it would have to be on their own land.  

Let us be clear, Vision Long Island historically is not a fan of casino gaming for a host of reasons but the Shinnecock Tribal Nation understandably has rights in this case.   It will also be a massive planning and logistical challenge with transportation and other forms of mitigation would have to be sorted out with cooperation from all local governments, NYS and neighboring communities.”

The Shinnecock Indian Nation is partnering with Tri State Partners for the development of the casino.  Tri State will provide food concessions and entertainment at the facilities.  The casino is currently slated to open in early to mid-2023.

You can read more at News 12 and the Riverhead News-Review.

Pink Tie Delivers to Uniondale

The Pink Tie Delivers team was out to Uniondale last week with distribution of food and financial donation to Kingdom Family Ministry.

Pastor Williams and volunteers were on hand to continue their food distribution effort and deliveries to local seniors and families.  They also work to mentor young people and assist them with job opportunities through this Coronavirus crisis.

Cold weather, snow, ongoing tough economic conditions and long hours don’t stop these community volunteers from getting food and resources directly to their neighbors in need.

As you look at how you can spend your time and money on local charitable endeavors please consider joining this Pink Tie initiative.   Stops will be on Fridays and weekly for the foreseeable future.

For more info on how you can take part in the doorstep donation program or join the Delivers Team  check out pinktie.org or please email us at contact@pinktie.org

Long Island Main Street News, Under Production, makes Extended Interviews with Local Leaders Available

Vision Long Island has been in the process of interviewing some of our community partners: local civics, small business/chamber friends, municipal officials and local food pantry and religious leaders. 

As part of these efforts, we have reached over half of the communities we work in and are starting now to connect to some of our friends not rooted in any one community from development, design and infrastructure professionals and environmental leaders as well.   These interviews will be pieced together into a future show titled “Long Island Main Street News,” but, in the meantime, you can view an extended version of these interviews here.

Special thanks to our guests for sharing their experiences, to our friends at Pink Tie for providing access to their studio, and to Rob Comforto from Videomasters for the filming and production.

This first interview connected us with Suffolk Legislator Steve Flotteron. 

Legislator Flotteron shared with us the work he has been doing connecting with his community through the years as a local businessman, a civic leader, Islip Town Councilman and in the Suffolk legislature.   We covered the importance of housing options, downtown revitalization and involvement in different levels of government.

Legislator Flotteron has been a model of a high energy and intensely connected public servant and he encourages citizens to get involve in the public process.  

Check it out here.

Next up, it was great to have Suffolk Legislator Kevin McCaffrey in the studio.

Legislator McCaffrey shared the information about his district that includes the downtowns of Lindenhurst and Babylon and the range of issues he hears from local constituents.  He reviewed the work he has been doing on Main Street revitalization particularly in Lindenhurst where he served on the Village board for many years as well.  He also spoke about how folks can get involved in his district and how he brings local issues into legislation as the Minority Leader of the Legislature.

Legislator McCaffrey is a really down to earth and approachable government leader.  His work as a union leader also brings a healthy blue collar perspective to his policy making.  

Check it out here.

Our next interview brought in Nassau Comptroller Jack Schnirman.

Jack shared the role of the Comptroller’s office in watching the budget, making vendor payments and connecting to residents on issues related to Nassau County’s fiscal challenges.

Our freewheeling discussion covered a lot of ground and we were happy to have the Comptroller join us.

Check it out here.

This interview brought in Michelle Schimel from the State of New York Mortgage Agency SONYMA to talk about housing opportunities.

Ms. Schimel spoke about the programs that SONYMA has in place for homeownership and the importance of getting the word out to folks in order to take advantage of them.  

Through her career as an advocate, Town of North Hempstead elected official and NYS Assemblywoman Ms. Schimel has always worked in the public interest and glad to see her bring resources for affordable housing out to people. 

Check it out here.

Keep an eye on Vision Long Island’s Facebook page here, where we’ll be premiering a new Main Street News Interview daily! Simply follow us if you have not already and you should get alerts before a new video debuts.

Here is our upcoming schedule of interviews for the rest of the week, so be sure and tune in for any that you are interested in:

Tuesday, February 23rd
Michele Gervat, American Heart Association
David Sprintzen, Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island

Wednesday, February 24th
Neal Lewis, Sustainability Campaign at Molloy College
Beth Fiteni, Green Inside and Out

Thursday, February 25th
Bernard Macias, AARP NY
Denise Carter, Greenman Pedersen, Inc.

Friday, February 26th
Andy Saluk, Jovia Financial Credit Union
Aryeh Lemberger, WSP USA

NYS Vaccination Guide Now Available

The State of New York has prepared a guide to help eligible New Yorkers schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at a state-operated distribution site.

· Appointments are REQUIRED. To make an appointment, you can call the hotline or go the New York State eligibility website using the links below;
· New York State Vaccination Hotline: 1-8333-NYS-4-VAX (833-697-4829). The Hotline is open 7 days a week from 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM;
· Check your eligibility at this site:  https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ You can also locate the site by googling “New York am I eligible.” If eligible, you will be able to move forward and search for an appointment near you at a state-operate distribution location;
· For further information, the New York State website is a great resource: www.ny.gov/vaccine.

Approximately 10 million New Yorkers are currently eligible to receive the vaccine. The federal government has increased the weekly supply, but New York’s vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.

The ‘Am I Eligible’ screening tool has been updated for individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions with new appointments released on a rolling basis over the next weeks. Starting next week, local health departments will also receive vaccine allocations for these individuals. New Yorkers can use the following to show they are eligible:

  • Doctor’s letter, or
  • Medical information evidencing comorbidity, or
  • Signed certification

A reminder: Appointments are based on vaccine supply. Supply is currently limited.

Westbury Carle Place Chamber Currently Hosting Restaurant Week

From February 21st to 28th, the Westbury Carle Place Chamber of Commerce will be hosting “A Taste of Westbury and Carle Place,” a weeklong restaurant events. 

The event will feature a number of restaurants from their local downtowns.  You can see the participating restaurants on the chamber’s website here.

For more information please contact us or call Peter at 516.439.9161 or Jerry at 516.300.2982.

American Heart Association Invites you to Undesign the Redline

As we work to address housing security, it’s important to understand the legacy practices that result in many of the health and housing issues our communities face.  Please join us in learning more about that topic in “Undesign the Redline” — A Virtual Workshop on Understanding Redlining with our colleagues at Design the We.

We are pleased to provide access to this experience through the support of the Kresge Foundation.

Upcoming Event:

EmPOWERED Black Women and Well-being Roundtable  – Thursday, February 25, 2021, at 8:00 pm EST. Amy Dubois Barnett, VP of Digital for BET, will moderate a discussion on health equity, COVID-19, and the vaccine with the sorority Presidents from the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and The Links, Incorporated.

LIAACC to Hold Virtual Expo Supporting Small Businesses on February 26th

The Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. will present a Virtual Small Business Expo on February 26, 2021.  The virtual expo will begin promptly at 9:00 AM and end at 5:00 PM.

The theme for this year’s expo is Educate & Elevate.  The African American Business Expo is an opportunity for local businesses, entrepreneurs, and organizations to come together to network, promote products/services and find resources, all in one location.  Whether you’re interested in starting a new business or expanding one, this is one event you don’t want to miss.

The 2021 Virtual African American Business Expo will continue to build on its campaign to Retool, Refocus, and Rebuild Black Business in New York State.  As New York State’s largest African American Chamber of Commerce, LIAACC has raised the bar for what it means to be a black chamber in New York State.

As part of its campaign to Retool, Refocus and Rebuild Black Businesses in New York State, the chamber has partnered with Customers Bank to help qualified businesses apply for the 2nd Round of PPP Loans.

“We know our road to recovery as a business community would be much more difficult without establishing partnerships, such as the one we have embarked upon with Customers Bank,” says Phil Andrews, President of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce. “Together, we are looking forward to helping many more small businesses than either organization could achieve on their own.”

Click here to register.

To learn more about the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, visit http://www.liaacc.org.

YouOffice to Host Small Business Pop-Up on March 20th

Small business owners in Glen Cove have a variety of options when considering where to keep their office. One unique opportunity is found at YouOffice of Glen Cove. YouOffice, which sits in the heart of the Glen Cove business community, surrounded by shops and restaurants, offers boutique office suites and coworking space which cater to small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

On Saturday, March 20th, from 2 PM to 5 PM at 50 Glen Street, YouOffice is hosting a Small Business Pop-Up, featuring a diverse selection of small businesses found on Long Island. There will be businesses specializing in fashion, art, vintage, wellness, beauty, home decor, jewelry, artisanal foods, crafts, local services and more.

YouOffice is also hosting a giveaway for vendors. Each vendor will have an opportunity to win a suite in the building for 6 months free of charge. 

For more information visit hello@youoffice.com.

Applying for the Second Round of PPP Loans for Small Businesses

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been revived, with $280 billion available for a second round, for small businesses still struggling to make ends meet. Monday, January 11th, was the first day to apply for this new, potentially forgivable, federal loan.

What you need to know about PPP Loans:
PPP loans are forgivable loans, meaning the money doesn’t need to be repaid if it meets the criteria laid out by the Small Business Administration. They have an interest rate of one percent and the current batch will mature in five years. The loans require no collateral and come without fees. Borrowers must spend at least 60% of the loans on payroll, with the other 40% going to other eligible operating expenses. Forgiven PPP loans are not considered income for federal tax purposes.

Differences in Round 2:
Targeted funds are being made available for the most vulnerable businesses; restaurants can get bigger loans; the forgiveness process is simpler; the tax break for PPP loan recipients have gotten bigger; and there is an expanded use of funds.

Eligibility for PPP funding:
For round 2 of the PPP funding, both first-time and second-time qualified borrowers are eligible to apply. First-time borrowers can apply for loans up to $10 million.

PPP applicants who are seeking funding in addition to what they received earlier in the year (also known as Second Draw Loans) are eligible for loans up to $2 million provided they meet the following requirements:
–          Employ fewer than 300 people (down from 500);
–          Have used or will use the full loan amount granted to them in their first round of PPP funding;
–          Can show a 25% gross revenue decline in any 2020 quarter compared with the same quarter in 2019 (if a business was out of operation for a portion of 2019, they can use different quarters to compare gross receipts.)

How and when to apply:

SBA reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for First Draw PPP Loans the week of January 11, 2021. SBA will began accepting applications for Second Draw PPP Loans on January 13, 2021.

To promote access for smaller lenders and their customers, SBA will initially only accept Second Draw PPP Loan applications from participating community financial institutions (CFIs), which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), and Microloan Intermediaries. Paycheck Protection Program lending will reopen to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. At least $25 billion is being set aside for Second Draw PPP Loans to eligible borrowers with a maximum of 10 employees or for loans of $250,000 or less to eligible borrowers in low- or moderate-income neighborhoods.

Applications close on March 31, 2021.

How much can a business borrow?
Loans are capped at 2.5 times an applicant’s average monthly payroll costs in the one year prior to the loan being issued (3.5 times for restaurants and other eligible hospitality businesses).
Loans are limited to a maximum of $10 million for first time PPP borrowers and $2 million for second time borrowers.

What can the money be used for?
The loan proceeds can be used to cover a business’s payroll and certain other expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures.

What about loan forgiveness?
If a business uses at least 60% of the loan on payroll expenses and maintains its employment levels during the covered period of the loan, it can apply to have the loan forgiven. Otherwise, the loans carry a 1% interest rate and a maturity of five years.

For further information, and to apply, click here.

Nassau County Reopens Restaurant Recovery Grant Program

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran is pleased to reopen the portal below to accept more applications for the Restaurant Recovery Grant Program (RRGP).

The program is intended to support full-service restaurants – the industry hit hardest by the pandemic – during the winter months when outdoor dining is limited and as restaurants adjust to New York State’s COVID-19 safety restrictions and new mandates. Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) are encouraged to apply.

Nassau County is using funding made available through the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to provide grants to restaurants. Grant funds are valued at either $5,000 or $10,000 depending on the number of employees.

The deadline to submit an application is March 15th, 2021.

If you have not already begun the application process and would like to APPLY, click here: https://zoomgrants.tools/zgf/nassaurestaurantrecovery

Eligible businesses that have been APPROVED to receive Restaurant Recovery Grant Program (RRGP) funding are shown in the list at this link. These businesses will receive a direct email from the Restaurant Recovery team this week, requesting confirmation of bank details so that the grant can be disbursed. Please watch for the email from nassaurestaurants@ndconline.org.

Restaurants that have applied to the RRGP but do NOT see their business on the list at the above link must get in touch with the Restaurant Recovery team immediately to complete their applications at nassaurestaurants@ndconline.org and 1-646-825-9617.

For any questions, please contact the Restaurant Recovery team at nassaurestaurants@ndconline.org and 1-646-825-9617.


Please email any RRGP questions to the Restaurant Recovery team at mailto:nassaurestaurants@ndconline.org.

Check back to this webpage for any RRGP updates!

Program Eligibility Criteria

Eligible Businesses

• Full-Service Restaurants (NAICS code 722511) engaged in providing food services and meals prepared on-premises to patrons who traditionally order and are served while seated (i.e., waiter/waitress service)
• Restaurant Establishment must have a current and valid Nassau County Department of Health Food Service Permit

General Eligibility

• Located in Nassau County
• In operation on or before March 1, 2019
• Must have 50 or fewer Full-Time equivalent (FTE) employees
              o Maximum $5,000 grant – 0 (sole proprietor)-10 employees
              o Maximum $10,000 grant – 11-50 employees
• Must agree to create or retain at least one low/moderate-income job at full-time status
• Must certify and demonstrate that they have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19

Eligible Expenses

• Grant funds to cover working capital and operating expenses including:
            o payroll, rent, utilities, purchase of PPE and sanitation supplies; lease or purchase of equipment like kitchen equipment or delivery vehicles; or COVID-19 related business improvements like patio heaters or contactless technology.

Ineligible Businesses

• Non-profit organizations
• Businesses with greater than 50 employees
• Businesses in violation of New York State Executive orders relating to the COVID-19 pandemic or other State, County or local ordinances
               o e.g., EO 202.74 effective Friday, November 13 at 10 PM
                               ▪ SLA FAQ: https://sla.ny.gov/Guidance-COVID-Related-Closing-Times

Keep an eye on the restaurant recovery page on Nassau County’s website for more information and to apply once the grant program becomes available.

Application period for the 2021 AARP Community Challenge Now Open

The AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are accepted for projects to improve public spaces, housing, transportation, civic engagement, coronavirus recovery, diversity and inclusion, and more.

The program is open to the following types of programs:

  • 501(C)(3), 501(C)(4) and 501(c)(6) nonprofits
  • Government entities
  • Other types of organizations will be considered on a case-by-case basis

The following projects are NOT eligible for funding:

  • Partisan, political or election-related activities
  • Planning activities and assessments and surveys of communities without tangible engagement
  • Studies with no follow-up action
  • Publication of books or reports
  • Acquisition of land and/or buildings or a vehicle purchase
  • Sponsorships of other organizations’ events or activities
  • Research and development for a nonprofit endeavor
  • Research and development for a for-profit endeavor
  • The promotion of a for-profit entity and/or its products and services

AARP will prioritize projects that deliver inclusive solutions that meet the needs of diverse populations, as well as those that directly engage volunteers through permanent or temporary solutions that aim to achieve one or more of the following outcome areas:

  • Create vibrant Public Places that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities.
  • Deliver a range of Transportation and mobility options that increase connectivity, walkability, bikeability, wayfinding, access to transportation options and roadway improvements.
  • Support a range of Housing options that increases the availability of accessible and affordable choices
  • Increase Civic Engagement and demonstrate the tangible value of “Smart Cities” with innovative and tangible projects that bring residents and local leaders together to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion
  • Support local recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic with an emphasis on economic development, improvements to public spaces and transportation services
  • Ensure a focus on Diversity and Inclusion while improving the built and social environment of a community
  • Other community improvements. In addition to these areas of focus, AARP wants to hear about local needs and innovative ideas for addressing them

The following project types will be prioritized over those that support ongoing programming or events:

  • Permanent physical improvements in the community
  • Temporary demonstrations that lead to long-term change
  • New, innovative programming or services

You can read more details on the grant at the AARP’s site here.  You can apply for the grant here.

Applications are due by 8pm ET on April 14th, 2021.

Project Warmth Emergency Fuel Fund Opens for Families in Need

One out of three households on Long Island don’t earn enough to make ends meet or heat their homes during the bitter winter months. Many working families are not earning enough money to maintain self-sufficiency and seniors on fixed incomes are having a hard time making ends meet.

Since 1994, United Way of Long Island has helped area residents in need of home heating to keep warm by joining hands with individual donors, nonprofit, corporate and union partners in support of Project Warmth. Project Warmth began operation in 1994 to help Long Islanders who did not qualify for Federal assistance programs due to income guidelines.

If a crisis strikes any of these households, they may be forced into making financial compromises and trade-offs that could be detrimental or even life-threatening. Project Warmth’s Emergency Fuel Fund can make a significant difference for families in our region.

As Long Island’s only non-governmental, island-wide emergency fuel fund, Project Warmth is a safety net for financially struggling individuals and families who are unable to pay their heating bill. This program provides a one-time grant for fuel and/or fuel-related electricity. Payments are made directly to oil and utility companies on behalf of eligible residents facing heating emergencies. For the hundreds of families we help each year, assistance with an oil delivery or utility arrears means they have room in their budgets to cover essentials like food or medication.

If you or someone you know needs emergency heating assistance, call United Way’s 2-1-1 Long Island information and referral call center by dialing 2-1-1 (or 1-888-774-7633) Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm, for referrals to an intake site.

If you’d like to contribute to Project Warmth, you can do so here.  A listing of in-take locations is available here

Small Businesses can Apply for Emergency Funding Through the Barstool Fund

Barstool Sports, a nationwide sports company, has created the Barstool Fund in support of the 30 Day Fund to help small businesses survive.

The nonprofit 30 Day Fund was launched by Virginia technology entrepreneur Pete Snyder and his wife, Burson. Working with other business leaders throughout the nation, the Fund’s goal is to help save as many jobs as possible.

The funds disbursed do not need to be repaid, but if businesses who receive the Fund’s assistance do, at a later date, wish to “pay it forward,” they may do so by directing those dollars back to the Fund, which will disburse them to another business in need. To date, the 30 Day Fund has raised more than $8 million and is on the way to funding more than 2,200 small businesses.

Businesses in need can apply here.

You can read more on businesses that have received funding and contribute to the fund yourself here. l Delivery Option to Long Island Businesses

A new company on Long Island is providing a delivery service that could help hundreds of small businesses to drive down costs and provide expanded services to local customers.

Trellus is a new delivery service that was created by local business owners who were seeking to assist small retail and home-based businesses who are seeking to compete with national online delivery services.  They offer fast, same-day delivery that is reliable and convenient.

The company is also offering an integrated delivery option for a website shopping carts and can fill the shoes of a courier service used for sending supplies, documents, garments, and much more locally.

This new company offers a new chance for companies adapting to the changing circumstances of our economy.  The local aspect of it helps them to keep more jobs local while providing elevated service to customers who might instead rely on large, national companies that drain local resources.

If you are a local business owner, you can check their coverage area here and please consider signing up for a one-month free trial at Trellus here.

New York State Accepting Applications for NY Forward Loan Fund

New York State has opened pre-applications for the New York Forward Loan Fund. Loans from this fund are available to small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords in New York State. New York Forward loans must be fully repaid over a 5-year term with fixed annual interest rates of 3 percent for small businesses and landlords.

Small businesses may apply for the lesser of $100,000 or up to 100% of the average monthly revenues in any 3-month period from 2019 or the first quarter of 2020. This loan can be paid back over five years with first year being interest only.  However, if small businesses have received either a PPP loan or an EIDL loan from SBA, they would not be eligible to apply. NYS has set a goal of 18% of total funds under this Program for Long Island

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as industries and regions reopen however, priority for New York Forward Loans will be given to industries and regions that have been reopened. Resources are available to assist in preparing applications for small businesses, landlords and nonprofits in industries and regions that have not yet reopened.

To view more details, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, click here:

If you need technical assistance through this process, please contact an Entrepreneurial Assistance Center near you and inform the counselor that you need help for the NY Forward Loan application.  You can find your closest contact center here.

Today’s Sponsor

Posillico, Inc.

For four generations, Posillico has combined an ironclad commitment to quality and performance with an unequaled family work ethic, making the company a leader in public works projects. Incorporated in 1946 under the presidency of Joseph D. Posillico, Sr. as a small trucking contractor, the company has grown to become one of the top engineering and contracting firms in New York.

Over the decades, Posillico has completed many large and highly difficult civil engineering and construction projects. These complex projects more often require off-peak construction during nighttime hours with stringent penalty and bonus clauses. But no matter the parameters, the Posillico team consistently demands and achieves excellence.

Their integrated services of civil, materials, environmental, paving, drilling, utilities, development and consulting have allowed them to provide the seamless, cost-effective construction solutions to multilayered problems that their clients will demand today and in the future. 

Smart Talk

Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director; Elissa Kyle, Placemaking Director; Linda Henninger, Outreach Coordinator

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to info@visionlongisland.org for consideration.

If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.

Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
Email: info@visionlongisland.org

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