Local businesses (under 500 employees) and not-for-profit organizations within the Town of Islip may be eligible for relief grants (i.e. no repayment) from the town of up to $5,000 in a new program called Keep Islip Thriving (KIT).
The initiative comes from monies received by the Town of Islip through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that was instituted as a response to financial devastation caused by the pandemic closures and mandates.
KIT, as it is administered by the town, is meant to be user-friendly towards the establishments by not requiring professional assistance to complete the application.
“The ARPA process proved to be too onerous in its paperwork and we wanted to make our relief fund accessible to our community,” said supervisor Angie Carpenter.
The Keep Islip Thriving fund opened to business owners and not-for-profits approximately two weeks ago and has already received a number of applications.
The town is planning to send letters to businesses and chambers of commerce to get the word out.
“We’ll be knocking on doors to let people know about this,” said Carpenter.
Currently, $1.5 million has been allocated to Keep Islip Thriving, but the town can authorize more as it determines the response and needs from the Town of Islip community.
In the first wave of ARPA funds, $457 million went directly to Suffolk County. Town of Islip, with approximately 330,000 residents, is the third most populous city in the state, but did not make the ARPA threshold of 500,000 to be allocated monies directly.
This second round of ARPA funds will give $47 million over two years in two installments directly to the town. Categories for usage were intricately defined.
The application for KIT grants is available online and the completed application can be mailed back to the town.
The requirements for the grant include:
• Business must be located within the Town of Islip and have at least two (2) years of business operating history.
• Business must have no more than five-hundred (500) full-time equivalent employees.
• Business must demonstrate an identifiable financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Financial hardship must be documented, quantifiable, and clearly driven by COVID-19.
• Business must be in good standing and current on its federal, state and local tax obligations and have no outstanding liens or judgments.
• Business must be in good standing with the Town and have no outstanding Town Code violations.
• Applicant must self-certify the eligibility requirements and to the proposed use of funds on the application.
Eligible activities are defined as: “Activities eligible for funding must be a direct result of supporting public health and response activities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
• Innovation to promote outdoor business to protect employee and public health.
• Payroll/employee retention or supporting employees, including but not limited to Workers Comp Insurance premium and Unemployment Insurance premium increases related to COVID-19, employee paid leave due to COVID-19 illness.
• Purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect employee and public health and efforts to sanitize the business environment.
• Rent or mortgage payments (excluding property tax payments).
• Addressing temporary COVID-19 related restrictions on business activity.
• Increasing technology capacity to enable alternative work forms.
• Creating new marketing campaigns or business plans. • Paying vendor invoices.
• Facility cleaning/restoration.
• Costs associated with additional training or virtual learning to implement COVID19 safety measures.
• Expenses required to plan for a safe reopening such as expert assessments and/or to conduct research or market surveys.
The four-page application includes an entire page for a narrative to be submitted explaining the financial impacts of COVID on the business.
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