Meng Helps Make Housing Co-ops Eligible for Coronavirus Relief Funds

Dec 30, 2020
Press Release
QUEENS, NY – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) announced today that she helped make housing cooperatives eligible to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) signature coronavirus relief initiative to assist struggling small businesses during the national health crisis. This change was included in the $900 billion coronavirus relief package that was signed into law on December 27.
In March, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created PPP which provides forgivable loans provided certain conditions are met, but SBA subsequently rendered housing co-ops ineligible to participate in the program. Since then, Meng worked with her congressional colleagues and the President’s Co-op & Condo Council to reverse this omission.
“Financial relief is finally available to housing cooperatives in Queens that have faced declining revenues and increasing costs during COVID-19. I am relieved that they will soon be able to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program and get the assistance they need,” said Meng. “COVID-19 has placed an unprecedented strain on the affordable cooperative housing units in New York City alone. Leaving out co-ops from PPP was a disservice to them despite their economic hardship. I was proud to press the Administration on this issue, and to help secure language in the Heroes Act and Heroes Act 2.0, which passed the House in May and October, respectively. While the Senate Republicans needlessly held up for months any relief for working families, I am glad that we finally secured eligibility for co-ops in the recent coronavirus relief package. Cooperatives remain a critical source of affordable housing for Queens and New York families and they must be made whole in the midst of this unprecedented public health and economic crises. Opening up the PPP to these entities will give them this lifeline. I want to thank my congressional colleagues and the President’s Co-op & Condo Council for their partnership on this issue. I encourage all to apply once the program resumes, and I will continue to push for more assistance to help families and workers in Queens in the coming months.”
“NCBA CLUSA greatly appreciates the leadership of Congresswoman Meng to provide much needed certainty for housing cooperatives to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Doug O’Brien, President and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International. “Housing co-ops, like all cooperatives, are businesses owned and controlled by their member owners. Like other small businesses weathering the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, these co-ops keep employees on payroll for critical ongoing operations such as maintenance, safety, and other essential needs vital to the member-owners. The co-op community is grateful for leaders in Congress like Congresswoman Meng, who understands the important role that housing co-ops play in their communities and the local economy. We applaud the efforts of Congresswoman Meng who, alongside members of the NY delegation including Chairwoman Velázquez and Leader Schumer, have tirelessly worked on this issues since the Paycheck Protection Program launched in April.”
“The inclusion of co-ops eligibility for forgivable PPP loans in the stimulus package will have a profound impact on the co-op community. The many co-op groups partnering with Congresswoman Meng on this important issue was a model of how good government is supposed to work,” said Geoffrey Mazel, Esq., Legal Advisor, President’s Co-op & Condo Council (PCCC).
In April, Meng and Rep. Suozzi led members of the New York congressional delegation in a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Carranza urging them to make co-ops and condominiums eligible to participate in PPP.
In May, Meng along with Senator Schumer, Reps. Velázquez and Engel, and other New York lawmakers called on SBA to clarify guidance on PPP eligibility for co-ops.
The House passed the Heroes Act in May and the updated Heroes Act 2.0 in October that expanded PPP eligibility to include co-ops.
PPP provides forgivable loans if 60 percent is used for payroll and 40 percent is used for non-payroll expenses like rent, mortgage interest payments, or utilities. The program closed on August 8 despite over $130 billion remaining.
The $900 billion coronavirus relief measure reopens PPP and expands eligible expenses to also include personal protective equipment, supplier costs, and business operations software and human resources needs.