As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape social norms, non-essential business closures and social distancing measures have drastically affected local small businesses and entrepreneurs. Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) hosted a virtual economic disaster recovery training for small businesses and entrepreneurs on Facebook Live on Monday, June 1, 2020.
Senator Sanders was joined by John Hope Bryant, the Chairman of Operation Hope, and his dedicated team of counselors at HOPE Inside Disaster help prepare small businesses navigate economic recovery.
“I am looking forward to working with Operation Hope in our beautiful district to see how we can go from being victims to victors,” Sanders said. “How do we turn this one around? How do we ensure that the next generation is in better shape than the current one?”
Operation Hope, is truly impressive as it is the largest not- for-profit and best-in-class provider of financial literacy, financial inclusion and economic empowerment tools and services in the United States for youth and adults. It’s chairman, has earned such titles as "Innovator of the Year," "One of the World's 10 Top CEOs," and one of Time Magazine "50 Leaders for the Future."
“Some people said, John, this no time for credit scores and conversations about ownership and businesses and jobs, we’re trying to get justice. No justice, no peace,” Bryant recalled being told in light of the nationwide protests following the police killing of George Floyd. “My response was, you don’t understand how this system works – everything is about money. If your day is not about God or love, your day is about money.”
“The reason people pick on us is because we’re poor – the vast majority of the African-American population – more than 50 percent of us are just struggling, and we are easy to mess with,” Bryant continued. “When you don’t have a lot of hope, economic training or financial literacy, people prey on you.”
During the training, Operation Hope representatives Nathan Beauchamp and David Daly explained how the organization offers free assistance when it comes to important programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, reaping the benefits of the CARE Act, including how to apply and qualify for PPP loans, how to get your federal stimulus check if you have not received it, understanding the Community Reinvestment Act, understanding the benefits of a qualified Opportunity Zone, as well as how to get your financial dignity back, renegotiate with your creditors, re-modify your mortgage, buy you some time to get your financial stability back, and so much more.
Operation Hope has responded to over 110 federally declared disasters since 2001 and served over 1.2 million people in the United States.
“We are very active in the community,” Beauchamp said. “We want to help everyone. We have a community uplift model. We don’t just help the adults. We help everyone in the family. We can help kids learn how to be financially stable. We should have kids learning how to manage their finances since middle school and high school so they can be prepared when they go to college. We also have Hope Inside the Workplace locations in different workplaces and we have Hope Inside Disaster so we can help clients all over the United States face any disaster.”
This event was co-sponsored by Assembly Members Clyde Vanel and Alicia Hyndman and Council Member Donovan Richards.
Thank you to our community partners: Minority & Women Contractors & Developers Association (MWCDA), Gateway JFK, Sutphin Blvd. BID, Merchant Association of Rosedale, Laurelton & Springfield Gardens (MARLS), REMA4US, Blaque Resource Network, Rockaway Business Alliance