New federal coronavirus stimulus checks are nowhere to be seen, but some states and local governments are still sending out stimulus aid in one way or another. New York City is working on sending out stimulus checks, but only to a few specific groups, including artists, taxi drivers, and the homeless. These coronavirus stimulus checks to artists, taxi drivers, and the homeless are expected to come later this month.
New York City will use the $6 billion it got in federal aid from the American Rescue Plan, to give stimulus money to these groups. The stimulus checks to artists could be as much as $5,000.
“By the program’s end in October 2021, the program will distribute 1,800 one-time grants of $5,000 each to help artists sustain their practice and engage the public in thousands of cultural programs,” reads a report from the city.
Additionally, the city has set aside over $125 million for the support and care of the city’s homeless population. For the city’s taxicab industry, the authorities are offering $65 million in financial aid. The taxicab industry was hit hard last year due to the lockdown and travelling restrictions.
Moreover, a larger number of taxi drivers are immigrants and people of color. Both these groups have largely been neglected by federal aid. Also, by supporting the taxi industry, the city wants to ensure that “more taxis are available to the riding public.”
Separately, New York City also has a Taxi Medallion Owner Relief Program. The plan offers financial support that includes a $20,000 down payment to help restructure medallion-related loans. The program also offers $9,000 in monthly debt payment assistance.
NYC Also Plans To Support These Segments
Along with giving stimulus checks to artists, taxi drivers, and the homeless, the authorities will also use the money for COVID vaccination efforts. For this, the city has set aside $330 million for the Test & Trace campaign, which is an initiative from NYC Health + Hospitals to carry out contact tracing.
Also, the authorities plan to help small businesses, including struggling restaurants. For this, the city will offer over $172 million in aid to businesses with less than 100 employees. This is estimated to cover 98% of local businesses. Some small businesses will get the aid in the form of grants or loans, while some will get legal assistance to change or terminate commercial leases.
“Small businesses are the backbone of New York City neighborhoods and it is vital that they prosper to ensure a fair recovery,” the report says.
The NYC plan also has a $52.5 million fund to support New York tourism and bring it back to pre-pandemic levels.
“The City’s decisions to invest these funds now will help keep New Yorkers safe, restart the economy, rebuild the tax base, increase equity, and enable greater economic growth in future years,” the report notes.