Western Brooklyn

UPROSE Wins Small Business Grant To Strengthen “Economic And Environmental Resiliency”

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UPROSE volunteers painting a sunflower banner in support of climate resiliency. (Photo courtesy of UPROSE.)
UPROSE volunteers painting a sunflower banner in support of climate resiliency. (Photo courtesy of UPROSE.)

Small businesses are often touted as the backbone of any community economy, particularly here in Brooklyn, where big business and mom-and-pop shops continue to fight for space. That’s why the city Department of Small Business Services (SBS) distribute grants every year to “promote grassroots economic development in historically underserved commercial corridors.”

This year, Sunset Park’s nonprofit United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park (UPROSE) won one of 37 Avenue NYC grants, and Infrastructure Coordinator Ryan Chavez told us the funds will be used to “organize small businesses in Sunset Park to resist displacement pressures, and also to become more environmentally resilient.”

“There’s a lot of concern locally about displacement pressures and we’re working to build a local leadership structure of small businesses — potentially forming some type of merchant association; a green BID — to resist displacement,” Chavez explained. “Something that can operate on its own. We’re focused on west of 4th Avenue, where we are seeing both the highest concentrations of economic pressures and weather vulnerability.”

As for environmental resiliency measures, Chavez said it will be “a community-driven process” that will expand on their existing work with auto shops. “The Avenue NYC grant will hopefully help us expand: on the one hand, to become more economically resilient, but on the other hand, to see what can be done to mitigate the effect of extreme weather, [with] organizing, leadership training, and workshops.”

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