LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston Business Improvement District (BID) is encouraging local small business owners to apply for an Essex County Small Business Lease Emergency Assistance Grant, which has been designed to help small businesses and non-profit agencies that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic pay their rent.

“This is a great program to help Livingston’s small businesses,” said BID Executive Director Beth Lippman. “Providing this program to our businesses not only helps them make their monthly overhead, but helps the property owners cover their expenses. All businesses that meet the criteria should apply to help them through the next six months.”

Essex County has allocated $9 million toward creating this grant program with funding received through federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and has partnered with the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA) to accept and review the applications.

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According to Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, area businesses and non-profit agencies will be able to apply for as much as $30,000 beginning on Monday, Nov. 16, through the Essex County Office of Small Business Development (OSBD) website. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Small businesses form the backbone of our local economy and non-profit organizations provide a vital safety net of social services for our residents," said DiVincenzo. "Both have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus and both need our help to be able to economically survive. Through our partnership with the NJRA, we are making grants available to help small businesses and non-profits pay for their rent. This will help small businesses and non-profits keep their doors open and benefits landlords who will receive rental payments, so they can pay for property taxes and other expenses."

Grants are available to Essex County-based small businesses and non-profit agencies that meet the following requirements:

  • Tenants leasing commercial space in mixed-used buildings.
  • Tenants leasing commercial space in commercial buildings.
  • Storefront businesses that lease their space.
  • To be eligible, the applicant’s leased premises must be no more than 7,500 square feet of leasable space. Priority will be given to leased premises of 5,000 square feet or less.
  • Applicants do not have to be delinquent on their lease payments; As a small business owner, the applicant may have exhausted all of their savings to avoid closing their business.
  • Not eligible to apply are businesses that are engaged in gambling or “adult” activities, auction sales, Christmas tree sales, tattoo parlors, smoke shops and liquor stores. 

Eligible applicants will also need to provide the following:

  • A current copy of their lease.
  • Certification from the tenant confirming a closing date due to the pandemic.
  • A copy of a current NJ tax clearance certificate.
  • Answers to debarment questions included in the application.
  • Verification from the landlord that the business is in good standing with monthly lease obligations prior to March 1, 2020.

According to the Essex County ODBD, the participation of the landlord is necessary for the application and the landlord must verify he or she will accept payment from Essex County. Residents and landlords also must affirm that funding assistance has not been received from other sources that would create a duplication of benefits. When an application is approved, the payment will be made directly to the landlord.

This is the second program Essex County is creating to assist small businesses and non-profit agencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, the county partnered with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to offer the Essex County Small Business and Non-Profit COVID-19 Relief Fund.

CLICK HERE to learn more about how to apply for an Essex County Small Business Lease Emergency Assistance Grant. 

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