Newark Encourages Local Nonprofits to Aid Small Business Pandemic Recovery Through New Initiative

The Neighborhood Investment Program will be administered by the city's Department of Economic and Housing Development and use federal funding from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act legislation, according to city officials.

The initiative falls in line with Baraka's economic recovery plan to strengthen Newark’s economy. Part of the mayor's $8.8 million recovery plan focuses on revitalizing small businesses and neighborhoods that were hit the hardest by the pandemic.

The pandemic wreaked havoc on job losses most notably in four sectors: hospitality, healthcare/social services, retail and other services. In total, these four sectors comprised 60% of all jobs lost, resulting in nearly $60 million to $100 million lost in consumer spending, according to city data.

“Our neighborhood retail corridors are the lifeblood of Newark,” said Allison Ladd, the deputy mayor of the city's Economic and Housing Development. “The Neighborhood Investment Program will fund real solutions developed and implemented in partnership with community organizations which know our neighborhoods best. This is one of the largest investments the city has ever made to support retail corridors.”

Some small business owners in Newark are hopeful that the program will help them get back on their feet.

“Mayor Baraka has kept small businesses and our neighborhood retail districts front and center in his administration, even as COVID has wreaked havoc on small businesses worldwide," said Tomilola Ogundare, the owner of Mama Afrika Food, located on West South Orange Avenue.

The city's efforts to partner with community groups were commended by Richard Cammarieri, the director of Community Engagement for the Newark-based outreach organization New Community Corporation, who also serves as chair of Newark Community Development Network.

“Focused on collaborating with local community groups to help stabilize, support and grow commercial corridors is vital to the full and equitable development of neighborhood areas citywide," said Cammarieri.

Organizations may put forward proposals in the following five program areas of neighborhood investment:

● Retail retention, and vacancy reduction

● Public space physical improvement

● Events and public space programming

● Small business outreach, engagement, and support to improve performance

● Financial planning and organizational capacity building

Eligible respondents include but are not limited to special improvement districts; business improvement districts; and community development corporations.

The deadline to apply for the RFP is Thursday, April 7, at 10:15 a.m.

The RFP can be found here:

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-03-12 03:21:56 -0800