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January 12, 2022

New Haven allocates $10M in new pandemic relief to aid businesses

Photo | Facebook Live Hillhouse High School Principal Glen Worthy and New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker at an event on Jan. 11, 2022, announcing a spending plan for $53 million in pandemic aid.

New Haven will spend $10 million in new federal pandemic relief money to support city businesses, including new support for the city’s Small Business Fund, Economic Resilience Fund and Financial Services Center, officials announced Wednesday.

The new funds will allow for new grants to small businesses and organizations supporting small businesses, with particular emphasis on Black and Latinx business owners, Mayor Justin Elicker said at a press event at the auto maintenance workshop at Hillhouse Hill School.

Grants can be used for physical upgrades to facilities, modernization, technical support to increase access to institutional capital and recovery programs, as well as legal, marketing and networking assistance.

The city's Economic Resilience Fund will provide larger grants, with priority funding awarded on a matching basis with other sources for initiatives including real estate project development.

“This third round of funding goes beyond recovery by supporting programs that will help promote prosperity and sustain both residents and the local economy for years to come,” Elicker said. “Today we take a huge, huge leap forward.”

Vocational and technical programs will also get an $8 million share of the new funding, with a focus on launching a new vocational-technical school in New Haven, college vo-tech programs and development and training for young adults. 

“We’re here at Hillhouse [High School] for a reason,” Economic Development Director Mike Piscitelli said, speaking of the opportunity to bolster vocational training. “This is a starting point.” 

Hillhouse students currently get training in the construction trades and automotive repair, Principal Glen Worthy said.

Another $4 million will be used to launch the New Haven Land Bank. That new fund will be used, “to buy and hold key real estate assets, have them ready for longer-term investment down the road,” Piscitelli said. 

The cash influx comes as part of $53 million coming to the city as part of a proposed Phase 3 of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), President Joe Biden’s relief act for governments and businesses hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The allocations announced Wednesday are part of the largest proposed expenditure of New Haven’s ARP funds to date. New Haven’s total share of the funding so far is approximately $115 million, according to the city. 

Other priorities for this latest round of relief money include youth programs, affordable housing, wealth creation in underserved communities and climate measures. Funds will go in part toward youth employment efforts and education-to-career pipelines for childcare workforce development.

Elicker said the city will need the first quarter of this year to gain approval for the spending plan from the Board of Alders and form new programs, with the goal of releasing the funds in the second and third quarters. 

Contact Liese Klein at

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