Rep. Nadler Demands HUD Immediately Release Business Recovery Funds

Jul 27, 2003

New York-- Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today called on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to immediately release $54.5 million in funding to replenish the World Trade Center Business Recovery Grant (BRG) program.

The shortfall in money, given to the state in a Community Development Block Grant routed through HUD, has left many small businesses waiting for funding they were promised months ago. LMDC recently, in its Partial Action Plan #4, submitted a request to HUD for $151.9 million, which includes money for the BRG.

"It is reprehensible that many of Lower Manhattan's small businesses are languishing, some on the verge of bankruptcy, while their promised grants are tied up in a bureaucratic morass," said Nadler. "LMDC kept saying it was waiting for the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) to request the money and ESDC said it didn't know where it would get the money, and now we're all waiting for HUD to release the money," said Nadler.

"If HUD is not willing to expedite its review of the entire Partial Action Plan, the least it can do is release funds so that these small firms can finally have the money pledged to them in the beginning of this year," he said.

Nadler called for government money in the form of grants, not loans, to aid companies devastated by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The delay in dispersal of grant money, which was meant to compensate firms for loss of revenue, contravenes the intent of Congress, which allocated $20.8 billion to New York in the aftermath of 9/11.

Nadler, in a May 13, 2003 letter to LMDC said, "I find it extremely troubling that many months after it became apparent that awards to small business owners could not be dispersed due to lack of funds, no action has been taken to remedy this untenable situation.... the intent of Congress was clear." The bill's conference report states "the corporation shall expeditiously respond to any application from an individual, nonprofit or small business for economic losses.... within 45 days of submission of an application," Nadler pointed out to LMDC. "An award letter with no check enclosed is not what Congress had in mind," he said.

By compensating small business owners, said Nadler, another objective of the BRG is attained: the assistance in the economic revitalization of New York City by ensuring that these disproportionately impacted firms retain or relocate operations and employment here.

Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents the 8th Congressional District of New York, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.