Financial assistance for businesses impacted by the I-95 temporary closure in Northeast Philadelphia [City of Philadelphia]

(Originally posted by the City of Philadelphia July 5, 2023)

On June 23, Mayor Jim Kenney joined Governor Josh Shapiro and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Mike Carroll to officially reopen six lanes of traffic on I-95. Since the initial collapse, local, state, and federal partners have worked tirelessly to reopen the roadway safely and as quickly as possible. Efforts were ahead of schedule each step of the way to get traffic flowing on I-95 again.

Our efforts are continuing with financial assistance for businesses! Small businesses in the disaster area have sustained substantial economic injury as a result of the disaster and will be eligible to seek financial assistance. Below are two funding opportunities for businesses in Northeast Philadelphia impacted by the I-95 temporary closure:

Apply for the emergency grants program

In June 2023, the Department of Commerce funded The Merchants Fund to launch an emergency grants program to support businesses facing hardship due to qualifying events such as fire, natural disaster, extreme acts of physical vandalism, utility failure, or business disruption due to public works. The Merchants Fund is currently accepting emergency grant applications from independently owned and operated small businesses anywhere in the city that meet the eligibility requirements. Funding is limited, and there is no guarantee of receiving a grant. Businesses can learn more about the eligibility requirements, funding priorities, and how to apply online.

Application deadline for businesses impacted by the I-95 temporary closure: Wednesday, July 12 at 11:59 p.m. In order to be fair and equitable in decision-making, all applications will be reviewed after the submission deadline. Businesses are encouraged to provide evidence of loss of income (e.g., a profit & loss statement that compares typical sales compared with the same period last year and/or in the weeks immediately preceding the highway closure).

Apply for low-interest emergency loans

Governor Josh Shapiro announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has granted an administrative declaration of a disaster for the businesses impacted by the I-95 collapse in Philadelphia. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program provides low-interest loans for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations.

The SBA can provide up to $2 million to help businesses meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred. The SBA tailors the repayment of each disaster loan to the borrower’s financial capability.

Loan applications will be made available online or by mail. Learn more about low-interest SBA loans and the application processThe application filing deadline is March 24, 2024.

We’re here to help

SBA opened a Business Recovery Center at the Philadelphia Fire Department, LT. Sean Williamson Training Center; next to Engine 38’s training facility (4931 Magee Ave Philadelphia, PA 19135) on July 7, 2023. The goal is to assist business owners in filling out a disaster loan application and providing one-on-one help around program information. Businesses visiting the BRC are recommend to park along Keystone Street, away from the areas with fire apparatus.

Ongoing Hours of Operation:

  • Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10: 00 a.m. – 2: 00 p.m.
  • Sunday, closed.
  • Closing permanently on Friday July 21 at 6 p.m.
Door entrance to the Philadelphia Fire Department, LT. Sean Williamson Training Center.If business owners have any questions or issues, they can contact the Philadelphia Department of Commerce Office of Business Services by calling (215) 683-2100 or emailing Commerce’s business services managers speak many languages, offering one-on-one support, education, outreach, and guidance. The team continues to be out in the field meeting with and providing one-on-one assistance to local businesses impacted by the I-95 temporary closure.

The Department of Commerce is also encouraging residents to shop small and support businesses in the area impacted by the I-95 temporary closure. Businesses are open in the area and across the city. Every local dollar can make a lasting impact in the lives of business owners and their families.  Neighborhood businesses provide jobs, goods and services for residents.

Are you a business in Philadelphia seeking to learn more about how to prepare ahead in case of emergencies like this one? Check out six emergency preparedness tips for your business now and into the future. We’re here to help you thrive. 

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