Sandy Relief Funds Begin to Reach Staten Island Businesses

By Nicholas Rizzi on February 6, 2013 5:57pm 

 Mayor Michael Bloomberg sat down with Karen Gills, head of the Small Business Administration, and Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, at a Dongan Hills pizzeria to thank them for the allocation of $1.77 billion in money to aid Hurricane Sandy victims, Feb. 6, 2013.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg sat down with Karen Gills, head of the Small Business Administration, and Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, at a Dongan Hills pizzeria to thank them for the allocation of $1.77 billion in money to aid Hurricane Sandy victims, Feb. 6, 2013.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

DONGAN HILLS — When Hurricane Sandy tore through the city last October, the basement of Goodfella's Pizza was flooded.

The electrical and heating systems of the eatery, on Hylan Boulevard, were destroyed by the floodwaters, causing nearly $75,000 in damages, according to co-owner Scot Cosentino.

"We had a lot of damage," he said. "It was just a swamp."

Cosentino said he was only able to get back on his feet and re-open after getting two loans from the Small Business Administration.

"It was tremendous,” Cosentino said about the loans. “Our cash flow is everything, and when you don't have a cash flow, and your doors are shut, you're dead in the water. The SBA bailed us out twice and it was a really good thing.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg outlined the city's plan for the first $1 billion in federal Hurricane Sandy money Wednesday and he grabbed some food with government officials at the pizzeria in Dongan Hills afterwards.

Among the guests for the event were U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan and U.S. Small Business Administration head Karen Mills.

"It's a pretty remarkable story about what New Yorkers do when they're knocked down," Donovan said. "This pizzeria was up and running before anybody expected."

The city plans to help more businesses like Goodfella's by using the money to fund additional grants to help businesses get on their feet. The SBA will also be upping the amount of its loans to $6 million.

“We're very, very glad, because small businesses really are the heart of communities like this,” Mills said.

After lunch, Bloomberg praised the pizza and the government's fast response in distributing the aid.

“In the context of the way governments around the world work, this is setting a record for delivering services for people in need,” Bloomberg said. “If all government agencies at the federal, state and city level worked as well as these guys all did we'd all be a lot better off.”

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