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New London assembles resources for small businesses hurt by pandemic

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New London — The city on Wednesday announced an online resource for small businesses that have shuttered or are suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The website developnewlondon.com/coronavirus provides information on federal relief funds, state programs and support being offered by the city.

New London recently received word it was to receive a $514,725 flexible funding grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to aid in its COVID-19 pandemic response. The funding is aimed at supporting infectious disease response in low-income and vulnerable communities, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, which authorized $5 billion for HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program. The grant is dispersed through HUD’s CDBG program.

“We are not alone in this,” Mayor Michael Passero said in a statement. “We want to do everything we can to support our small businesses, and we will actively update DevelopNewLondon.com with new resources as they become available.”

He said the city has worked closely with the state Department of Economic and Community Development, chambers of commerce, New London Main Street and the Women’s Business Development Council to bring together the services and programs into one central place.

The city also is launching a help center to aid local businesses in navigating the various support services and programs available to them. Support is available in both English and Spanish. Businesses seeking guidance should reach out to Sbinfo@newlondonct.org or call (860) 437-6309.

The city is calling on New London business owners to take a brief survey to help the city better understand how COVID-19 is impacting the local economy. The survey can be found at bit.ly/DNLcovid19. Survey results will be used to develop future programs to assist small businesses and identify which sectors need greater support than what is currently available from state and federal relief programs.

“We are all in this together, all of our businesses are putting their best foot forward to do what they can to remain open while remaining safe and healthy,” said Felix Reyes,  director of the Office of Development and Planning. “We will continue to work diligently to help our small business owners navigate this crisis and remain up to date on the latest relief programs. We can’t thank the community enough for supporting our local businesses."

The city also announced a three-month payment deferral for all loans payable to Capital for Change. Borrowers will be contacted by the city for more details, but they will have the option to defer payments for April, May and June 2020 with normal payments resuming July 1, 2020. Borrowers can opt out of this deferral and maintain their normal monthly payments if they wish to keep their original payoff date.

For more information and live coronavirus updates, residents and businesses can sign up for the New London newsletter at developnewlondon.com/newsletter.

g.smith@theday.com

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