Co-Ops Eligible  for Virus Relief Funds

Co-Ops Eligible for Virus Relief Funds

Photo Courtesy of Rep. Meng’s Office

“Financial relief is finally available to housing cooperatives in Queens that have faced declining revenues and increasing costs during COVID-19,” Rep. Meng said.

By Forum Staff

Housing cooperatives are now eligible to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program, which is the Small Business Administration’s signature coronavirus relief initiative to assist struggling small businesses during the national health crisis, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) recently announced.

The change was included in the $900 billion coronavirus relief package that was signed into law on Dec. 27.

In April, Meng and Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Queens and LI) led members of the New York congressional delegation in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza urging them to make co-ops and condominiums eligible to participate in PPP.

In May, Meng along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Reps. Velázquez (D-Queens and Brooklyn) and Eliot Engel (D-Bronx), and other New York lawmakers called on SBA to clarify guidance on PPP eligibility for co-ops.

The House passed the Heroes Act in May and the updated Heroes Act 2.0 in October that expanded PPP eligibility to include co-ops.

PPP provides forgivable loans if 60 percent is used for payroll and 40 percent is used for non-payroll expenses like rent, mortgage interest payments, or utilities. The program closed on Aug. 8 despite over $130 billion remaining.

The $900 billion coronavirus relief measure reopens PPP and expands eligible expenses to also include personal protective equipment, supplier costs, and business operations software and human resources needs.

“Financial relief is finally available to housing cooperatives in Queens that have faced declining revenues and increasing costs during COVID-19. I am relieved that they will soon be able to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program and get the assistance they need,” said Meng. “COVID-19 has placed an unprecedented strain on the affordable cooperative housing units in New York City alone. Leaving out co-ops from PPP was a disservice to them despite their economic hardship. I was proud to press the Administration on this issue, and to help secure language in the Heroes Act and Heroes Act 2.0, which passed the House in May and October, respectively. While the Senate Republicans needlessly held up for months any relief for working families, I am glad that we finally secured eligibility for co-ops in the recent coronavirus relief package. Cooperatives remain a critical source of affordable housing for Queens and New York families and they must be made whole in the midst of this unprecedented public health and economic crises. Opening up the PPP to these entities will give them this lifeline. I want to thank my congressional colleagues and the president’s Co-op & Condo Council for their partnership on this issue. I encourage all to apply once the program resumes, and I will continue to push for more assistance to help families and workers in Queens in the coming months.”

Doug O’Brien, president and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International added, “Housing co-ops, like all cooperatives, are businesses owned and controlled by their member owners. Like other small businesses weathering the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, these co-ops keep employees on payroll for critical ongoing operations such as maintenance, safety, and other essential needs vital to the member-owners.”


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