Valone Calls on Congress For Co-ops, Condos CARES Relief

City Councilmember Paul Vallone. Photo from the NYC City Council website.

Council Member Paul A. Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) announced on Friday he will introduce a resolution calling on Congress and President Trump to expand the CARES Act and Payroll Protection Program (PPP) to include considerations for housing cooperatives and condominiums.

Under the resolution, which Vallone said he will introduce at the Council’s next stated meeting to take place virtually on April 22, co-op and condo owners would be allowed the ability to access critical PPP loans in the next COVID-19 stimulus package later this month. 

City Council Member Paul Vallone

PPP provides cash-flow assistance through 100-percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this public emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans are forgiven. The SBA announced on Thursday that the funds allocated to the program in the last stimulus bill have been exhausted due to overwhelming demand and urged Congress to appropriate additional funds in the next package.

Similar to small businesses, cooperative and condominium owners and tenants are facing a number of hardships stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, including declining revenues from shareholders who have lost their jobs, declining rental income from commercial tenants and vacant apartments that are unsold due to the current market. Many also report the inability to pay their essential workers, which will undoubtedly hurt tenant populations, many of whom are homebound seniors.

“As our City persists through the COVID-19 crisis, we must protect a cornerstone of our local communities,” said Vallone. “Our co-ops and condos provide a vital affordable, middle-class housing option to hundreds of thousands of our New Yorkers. The next iteration of the Payroll Protection Program must extend this lifeline to our cooperative and condominium owners and tenants, who too are facing immense hardship paying their essential workers and maintaining other critical operating expenses during this public health crisis.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi

U. S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Eastern Queens, Long Island) is also supporting the move and has already sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza urging them to make residential housing cooperatives and condominium associations eligible for PPP under the CARES Act.

“I fully support Council Member Vallone and the rest of the City Council in their efforts to ensure the financial stability of the thousands of housing cooperatives and condominiums throughout the New York metropolitan area,” said Suozzi.

The President’s Coop & Condominium Council, an organization located in New York City representing over 100,000 units of affordable cooperative/condominium housing units, have issued a letter to Congressional leadership in support. 

“Coop shareholders in New York City have been especially hard hit by the Coronavirus, both medically and financially,” said Geoffrey Mazel, General Counsel of the President’s Coop & Condominium Council.  “Many affected coops are located in Queens, NY, the epicenter of the epicenter. The PPP loan would provide much-needed relief for these hard-hit housing cooperatives.”

A total of 22 Council Members have already signed on as prime sponsors to support the resolution.