But it turns out businesses are in only a slightly better position.
At a City Council hearing Wednesday, John Grathwol, the deputy director for the Office of Management and Budget, said only seven businesses have been awarded a total of $2.4 million in grants and loans from the pool of Sandy federal aid that is administered by the city. Nearly 300 have applied for help, officials said.
The admission surprised and angered City Council members.
“You know it might be day 99 for the new administration, but this is now 17 months for small business owners who are still shuttered,” said City Councilman Mark Treyger, who represents Coney Island in Brooklyn.
Seventy-three companies are in the final stage of the approval process and more than 200 other applications are in the pipeline, according to the city Department of Small Business Services.
After the hearing, city officials explained that the federally-funded program is not the first chance New York companies have had to receive Sandy aid. Some $23 million in loans and grants went out to 650 businesses in the first six months after the storm. But that assistance, from a consortium of banks and the city’s Economic Development Corporation, came in much smaller amounts than is being offered currently.