2013-02-01 / Top Stories

RDRC Helping Sandy Victims

By Miriam Rosenberg


RDRC and counselors from the state Small Business Development Center work with business owners applying for superstorm Sandy assistance. (Photo by Miriam Rosenberg.) RDRC and counselors from the state Small Business Development Center work with business owners applying for superstorm Sandy assistance. (Photo by Miriam Rosenberg.) Continuing in their tradition of helping small businesses, the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC) is now working with Rockaway small businesses that were affected by Superstorm Sandy.

Since Sandy hit, RDRC has been holding workshops and ‘triage’ centers for local business owners to “apply for the loans and grants that are out there” Tony Berkel of RDRC said.

On Tuesday, Berkel, an in house consultant for RDRC, and counselors from the state Small Business Development Center were in a storefront on Rockaway Beach Boulevard near Beach 92nd Street, talking business owners through the steps to apply for assistance to get their companies back up and running. “We don’t need people to leave the peninsula to get service,” said Berkel. “That’s why we’re here. We’re here to bring the resources to them. Today we’re helping the businesses on Rockaway Beach Boulevard fill out the applications, the grants, the loans and things of that nature.” Business owners all along hard hit Rockaway Beach Boulevard were coming in for assistance. Among those who RDRC helped on Tuesday was Dr. Hillel Stein of Smile Savers located on Rockaway Beach Boulevard near Beach 90th Street. The dental office just recently announced their reopening. But they – like many others in the area – lost everything. “We had to rip the walls out, demolish and rebuild [the whole office],” said Dr. Stein.

This is the second in field ‘triage’ center session RDRC has set up. The first was on Beach 116th Street where Berkel said they initially served “a handful of businesses.” But, by 2 p.m., with two hours left before closing, approximately 20 business owners had already been helped in the five hours that the Rockaway Beach RDRC center was open. While the January 29th visit to Rockaway Beach was meant to be only one day, Berkel said there is a possibility of RDRC returning in the future. RDRC will assess the need to determine if a return visit is needed. But according to what Berkel has seen he believes the need is there.

“There’s a greater need at the Rockaway Beach area than there was at the Rockaway Park area,” said Berkel, who added that assistance provided by RDRC is free.

The funding available includes a federal disaster loan for up to $2 million for damaged or destroyed real estate or equipment; an emergency loan up to $25,000 with a grant up to $10,000 for businesses damaged by Sandy, a sales tax exemption up to $100,000, and a relief grant up to $5,000. Business owners who couldn’t make the Tuesday site visit to Rockaway Beach can visit the RDRC office at 19-20 Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway. Contact RDRC for more information.

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