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Rochester Offers Economic Programs to Help Residents During COVID-19

Staff reports

Rochester City Hall. File photo

Mayor Lovely Warren announced programs and services to support residents and businesses during and after the coronavirus crisis.

“This pandemic has caused an unprecedented level of disruption that will reverberate across our city’s economy for months to come,” Warren said in a news release when she announced the program March 31.

The programs are a collaboration of the city and non-profit organizations. The COVID-19 economic relief and recovery plans include:

Property tax collection relief. Residents and business owners may now make payments such as fourth-quarter property tax, water and refuse charges on April 30, 2020 instead of the original March 31 due date.

Financial coaching. Free, professional financial counseling and coaching will be offered for residents to work on budgeting, debt management and loan payment deferrals. These services will be led by the city’s Office of Community Wealth Building’s Financial Empowerment Centers.

Emergency repair assistance for homeowners. Residential property owners who cannot afford to repair or replace a furnace, boiler or hot water tank may apply for grants through the city’s Department of Neighborhood and Business Development (NBD).

Business emergency grant and loan deferrals. NBD is offering a new business emergency retention grant that provides up to $2,000 to help small business owners cover short-term expenses such as payroll, insurance, utilities and inventory. Also, NBD and the Rochester Economic Development Corp. are providing options to defer loan payments for 90 days.

KIVA Rochester and SBA loans. Kiva Rochester has expanded access to its crowdfunded, interest-free loans, and the U.S. Small Business Administration is offering an Economic Disaster Injury Loan of up to $2 million. In addition, an Express Bridge Loan is available to allow SBA Express Lenders to provide qualified small businesses with loans of up to $25,000 to pay expenses while they apply for longer-term loans.

Partnership with 211 / Life Line. The information hotline will provide 24-hour access to current information about available support services offered by the city to meet the immediate needs of residents and business owners. 211 / Life Line is operated by Goodwill of the Finger Lakes. Goodwill has shifted employees from other areas of its operation to the 211 hotline, nearly doubling its capacity to provide this service.

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