March 23, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Two non-profits with a large presence in Flushing have come together to support more than 30 businesses that were destroyed by a large fire on Main Street last week.
Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) and the Renaissance Economic Development Corp. (REDC), two Manhattan-based organizations with offices in Flushing, have established a $1 million loan fund to help business owners recover from the blaze that tore through a mall last Thursday.
The businesses were gutted by the five-alarm fire at 40-10 Main St. which burned for hours and caused the mall’s ceiling to collapse. The FDNY has not revealed what caused the fire.
The fund, called the Flushing Downtown Fire Emergency Loan Program, was announced Monday and makes up to $50,000 available to each business impacted by the fire. The program aims to help owners relocate and reopen their businesses as soon as possible.
“Our staff is standing by… to begin working with small business owners and we will be here every day until each and every small business in need of assistance receives it,” said Jessie Lee, the managing director of REDC. The non-profit provides low-interest loans, grants and training to immigrant small business owners.
The REDC is partnering with the AAFE to oversee the emergency loan program. The AAFE provides affordable housing for Asian Americans and various disadvantaged communities as well as low-interest loans to immigrant entrepreneurs.
The emergency loans come with a 2 percent fixed interest rate with terms of up to five years available. Surrounding businesses that were closed or disrupted by road closures due to the fire can also access the funds.
Queens Council Member Sandra Ung, who was at the scene of the fire throughout the day last Thursday, welcomed news about the emergency loan program.
“This was a truly devastating event and we are going to have to utilize all the resources at our disposal… to help these small businesses recover,’ Ung said.
“The Flushing Downtown Fire Emergency Loan Program is an important part of that recovery.”
Business owners interested in applying for a loan from the program can click here.