Housing And Urban Development Secretary Visits Sandy-Impacted SI Area
On Wednesday, the federal point man for Hurricane Sandy relief joined the mayor in visiting one of the areas hardest hit by the storm. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg licked his fingers, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan shook hands and posed for pictures after a lunch meeting at Goodfellas Restaurant in Dongan Hill, a casualty of Hurricane Sandy, and of Tropical Storm Irene before that.
"This is the second time that Goodfellas has been hit in just a year," Donovan said. "We know that this isn't going to be the last time that New York is put in danger, and so we've got to build back, quickly, but also smarter."
Donovan's visit comes on a day when the city detailed plans for how it will spend some $1.8 billion in federal Hurricane Sandy relief money. HUD is the lead agency disbursing Hurricane Sandy relief funds.
Goodfellas was able to reopen quickly after Hurricane Sandy by firing up a brick oven and some generators, and was eventually helped by loans from the federal Small Business Administration.
While Goodfellas is a rebuilding success story, there are still many businesses struggling to regroup after the storm.
"Even if your business didn't have physical damage, but you just haven't gotten your revenues back, your customers aren't with you, we can give you a business interruption loan and help you get the working capital back," said Karen Mills of the Small Business Administration.
Donovan also detailed plans to streamline funding sources for small businesses by offering them grants and loans, and to create a system that would cut red tape and allow owners to apply for help using just one application.
"I know there's a lot of money out there," said Scott Cosentino, owner of Goodfellas. "You just have to be diligent. You have to be persistent. Sometimes, you run into some red tape and other things, but you just have to get through it. It's important if you want to keep your business going and your livelihood going.
Donovan said there will be more trips to small businesses in storm-ravaged areas in the coming days as officials decide how to spend remaining funds and rebuild smarter.