TRENTON – The state Economic Development Authority is adding another $500,000 in aid for small businesses affected by Tropical Storm Henri to the $10 million it will make available to those damaged by Ida.

The EDA’s board approved the $10.5 million program at a special meeting Wednesday. It will provide grants of $1,000 to $5,000 to businesses and nonprofits damaged by the two storms, in amounts equal to their rent or mortgage payment paid in August.

Applications will become available at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 17. They will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis.

“Time is clearly of the essence, and we are determined to get funds out to businesses and non-profits as quickly as possible,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.

The Henri/Ida Grant Program will be available to New Jersey-based small businesses and nonprofits that have up to 50 full-time equivalent employees as reported on their WR-30 form filed with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development for the quarter ending in June. They must have a commercial location in the state that suffered physical damage as a result of Henri or Ida.

Landlords and home-based businesses are not eligible for grant funding through the program.

Applicants must certify an unmet need due to storm damage or a business interruption. Damages include flooding, interior or exterior structural damage to the building and roof or siding damage. Loss of power alone isn’t eligible.

They’ll have to provide documentation of physical damage, such as clear photographs and receipts, as well as complete an affidavit identifying all funding sources related to storm recovery such as other grants, insurance and financial help from the Small Business Administration.

One-third of the $10 million in funding available through the Ida portion of the program will be targeted to businesses with a primary business location within the 715 census tracts designated as eligible to be selected as an Opportunity Zone.

“The need for assistance is particularly dire, as these storms occurred just as New Jersey was emerging from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tim Sullivan, the EDA’s chief executive officer. “It’s more critical than ever that we do our best to help impacted entities return to normal operations so they may continue their role as the economic drivers of New Jersey’s communities.”

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The EDA says the program could be expanded to $15 million. Also, if the Henri portion of the program doesn’t require the full $500,000, that money can be reallocated to Ida-related grants if needed.

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com.


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