Community Developers Call for Immediate Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Economic Fall Out from Pandemic Requires Large Scale and Equitable Response

Investments Needed for Small Business, Housing and Non-Profit Sectors

March 24, 2020

CONTACT: Joseph Kriesberg, 617-721-7250 / joek@macdc.org

A statewide association of Community Development Corporations is calling upon state leaders to take immediate action to address growing and urgent needs for small businesses, tenants, homeowners and nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis.

The Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) represents 88 community-based nonprofits across the state that work to advance economic opportunity, affordable housing and thriving neighborhoods across the state. MACDC is calling for the following actions:

  • $150 million investment in loans, grants, and technical assistance to help small businesses survive and recover from this economic crisis, especially those businesses owned by people of color, immigrants, women, and low- or moderate-income people;

  • Creation of a Massachusetts COVID-19 Small Business Response Task Force to guide the on-going response to this crisis and consider other initiatives to help small businesses through this crisis;

  • Expanded unemployment insurance criteria to cover currently ineligible business owners, such as sole proprietors, independent contractors and micro businesses;

  • Short-term eviction moratorium to keep people housed during this public health crisis;

  • At least $25 million in emergency funding to help tenants impacted by the COVID-19 crisis pay their rent;

  • Special initiatives to help nonprofit organizations, including community-based cultural organizations, youth programs, CDCs, and other critical local organizations.

(Read, MACDC's full Initial Policy Recommendations in Response to the Public Health and Economic Crisis)

“The economic fallout from the COVID-19 public health emergency is likely to hurt just about everyone, but it will have a particularly significant impact on lower-income communities, communities of color, Gateway Cities, and distressed rural areas,” said Joseph Kriesberg, President of MACDC. “We need the state to step up immediately with significant and equitable investments to help our small businesses survive and recover from this unprecedented crisis.”

“We know this pandemic will have a particularly significant impact on the most vulnerable among us.  It will reveal and exacerbate the persistent racial and economic inequities in our society,” noted Kriesberg. “That is why we need a strategy based on equity that targets resources to the businesses, families and communities that most need assistance”.

MACDC recommends that much of the small business development assistance be deployed through the highly effective network of community-based organizations already working with the state through the Small Business Technical Assistance program.  These organizations are working with over 3,000 small businesses across the state, with 88% of the clients coming from underserved communities such as people of color, immigrants, or lower-income communities.  Additional support can be deployed by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) with a proven record of leveraging federal and private funding to deliver capital to small businesses.  MACDC is also urging an expansion of the Mass Growth Capital Corporation’s Small Business Recovery Loan fund which is already oversubscribed. Given the scale of this crisis, we recommend that businesses be able to access both loans and/or grants to ensure their long-term survival and to avoid new debt obligations that will burden their recovery.

MACDC’s policy statement calls on the legislature and the Governor to use the state’s Rainy Day Fund and General Obligation Bonds to help cover the costs of these emergency investments.

(Read, MACDC's full Initial Policy Recommendations in Response to the Public Health and Economic Crisis)