Bill Morris in COVID-19 on December 21, 2020
Way back in May, as the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic was battering New York City, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, the minority leader, held a video conference call from his Brooklyn co-op, announcing that previously excluded co-ops would be included in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under new legislation he had helped write. After passing in the House, that bill died in the Republican-controlled Senate.
On Monday, seven months and some 300,000 deaths later, Schumer announced that co-ops will finally become eligible for forgivable PPP loans as part of the new $900 billion stimulus package hammered out by House, Senate and White House negotiators over the weekend.
If the bill passes late Monday, as expected, it will be one of the largest in U.S. history. At its center is $284 billion to expand the PPP and extend it to March 31, 2021. Also newly eligible in addition to housing cooperatives are nonprofits, local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters, and local chambers of commerce. The loans are intended to help small businesses keep workers on their payroll during the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic. The bill will extend federal unemployment benefits of up to $300 per week, which could start as early as Dec. 27. The legislation also provides $45 billion for transportation needs, $82 billion for schools, $20 billion for vaccine distribution and $13 billion for a major expansion in food stamps.
It was not immediately clear if condo boards will be eligible for PPP loans. But Steve Barton, an aide to Schumer, offered this advice: “If you’re on a co-op board, the first step is to get in touch with your bank. Most lenders have some sense of how to participate in this program.”
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