NY offers quick grants for businesses hit by Sandy

NEW YORK (AP) — Small business owners in New York can get expedited grants from a state program aimed at helping them recover from three storms including Superstorm Sandy.

The state's Small Business Storm Recovery program will give owners who apply for grants $10,000 while their claims are still being processed. That amount requires only a portion of the paperwork required for a full grant of $50,000 or more. Business owners must still submit a full grant application within 60 days of receiving the $10,000.

The expedited grants will be officially announced on Friday. Business owners who suffered damage from Sandy last year, and Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, are eligible for the grants.

The state decided to hand out preliminary grants because many owners have found it difficult to rebuild and run their businesses and come up with all the documentation required for the full grants, said Seth Diamond, director of the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery, in an interview with The Associated Press.

Diamond also said many small business owners have been skeptical that they would get grant money from the state.

"To show them that this is real, we'll get some funding out to them," Diamond said.

Owners won't automatically get the $10,000 when they apply, Diamond said. Their applications will be reviewed to ensure that they have already had rebuilding costs and that they in fact need the grants.

The money for the grants comes from the state's $400 million plan to help with storm recovery, Diamond said. The money was approved by Congress and channeled to the state through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant program.

The small businesses hurt by Sandy include many along the south shore of Long Island, including fishing businesses and companies in the tourism industry, Diamond said. However many year-round businesses like retailers and restaurants were also hard-hit.

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