Harry Bronson says leftover $4B in CARES Act funds should go to non-profits: ‘They need this’

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Assemblymember Harry Bronson and many other state lawmakers are calling on Governor Cuomo to release $4 billion left over from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to struggling non-profit organizations. New York State received a total of $5.1 billion under the CARES Act.

Local non-profit the Open Door Mission has remained open during the pandemic and the executive director, Anna Valeria-Iseman, said they’ve been lucky to get donations from the community. However, with the uncertainty about how long the pandemic could last, she said she’s worried about those donations continuing.

“Normally we see our revenue increase during fall and winter, the weather gets cold, holidays come, people start thinking about giving, so what we don’t know is if folks have exhausted that giving capacity earlier in the year,” Valeria-Iseman said.

She said in addition to donation, they also received a PPP loan and some help from the city and county to fund hotel beds when they had to limit the capacity of their shelter. They recently received a grant from the United Way to keep those hotel beds open for those that need them during the winter months.

But this money won’t last forever. Assemblymember Bronson is calling on the state to help non-profits stay afloat by releasing that remaining $4 billion dollars.

“Non-profit organizations in Rochester are hurting. When they hurt, our families hurt,” Bronson said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

The Breast Cancer Coalition is another non-profit that could use this money. The executive director, Holly Anderson, said their fundraising is down, plus she said the state health department still owes her organization $450,000.

“$300,000 of it is from 2018-2019 so it definitely would’ve come in handy this year because of COVID-19, but we have not seen a penny of it,” Anderson said.

Both women said the extra money wouldn’t hurt. “We certainly are always on the lookout for any opportunities that may be out there,” Valeria-Iseman said.

Bronson said 17,000 people work at 740 non-profit organizations across the Finger Lakes region. He said their total annual wages is just under $460 million.

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