Suffolk County will use $1.6 million in federal funds to provide grants for East End small businesses and renters economically impacted by the pandemic, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced on Friday.
Funds provided to the county as part of a pandemic relief package passed by Congress in March will be used to finance a $1 million grant program to help restaurants, bars and taverns, gyms, hair salons and barbers, and nail salons in the five East End towns -- East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island, Riverhead, Southold -- as well as Smithtown. Businesses with up to 10 employees (including sole proprietors) can apply for up to $5,000, and businesses with 11 to 49 employees can apply for up to $10,000. In order to qualify for the money, a business must have been in operation since March 1, 2019, have at least one low-income employee on the payroll, and demonstrate a loss of income due to the pandemic, among other criteria.
The county will use $600,000 for a program that will provide renters in the six towns with one month's rent up to a maximum of $2,500. Renters are required to have lived in legal permanent housing for at least one month, have a yearlong lease, and have an annual household income under 80 percent of the area's median household income. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2020 guidelines, the maximum household income allowed is $70,950 for one person, $81,050 for two, $91,200 for three, $101,300 for four, $109,450 for five, $117,550 for six, $125,650 for seven, and $133,750 for eight or more.
Applications are on the Suffolk County Business Recovery Unit's website, and will be accepted today through Jan. 15.
"We are now nine months in to this pandemic, and with cases surging once again we need to provide for residents in need of tangible assistance," said Mr. Bellone in a statement announcing the programs.