Originally published in NY Daily News.
The de Blasio administration let down struggling mom-and-pop shops in terms of helping them apply for federal loans, city Comptroller Scott Stringer said Wednesday.
He called on the city to boost door-to-door outreach and take other steps as the feds open up a second round of Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans this week.
Just 12% of eligible businesses in the city received a PPP loan during the first round, according to the comptroller, who called that rate “unacceptable.”
“The city failed our small businesses the first time around, but we have another chance,” Stringer said, noting $284 billion in forgivable loans are now up for grabs.
He called on the city to inform more businesses of how to do the complicated paperwork, through steps like partnering with business improvement districts and good, old-fashioned door knocking. He also wants to see a “a comprehensive list of all the financial institutions that are administering the PPP.”
Earlier Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio announced a new effort to help city businesses get the loans, through daily webinars, one-on-one guidance and connections to PPP lenders.
Stringer, who’s running for mayor, dismissed the undertaking.
“I’m glad that they saw us coming and they’re willing to meet us halfway, but I think there has to be more done,” he said. “If you’re not proactive, banging on doors, if you’re not actually calling up, inviting people in, a webinar will just be a Zoom that no one will participate in.”
De Blasio spokesman Bill Neidhardt rejected the criticism.
“Was this press conference held by Comptroller Stringer or Candidate Stringer? Hard to tell these days,” Neidhardt said in an email. “He’s running for office, we’re actually providing connections for small businesses to the federal government.”