Congress has now passed four significant pieces of legislation to try to blunt the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and rush help to the U.S. economy.

It’s still not getting to most small businesses, says the mayor of Newark, N.J.

“Honestly, very few of the businesses in the city have been able to access [government] funding,” Mayor Ras Baraka told Yahoo Finance, pointing to deficiencies at every level of government, from his own administration up to Washington, D.C.

“You have millions of businesses that will never be able to get funding from the way it’s happening now,” he said.

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Holes in the Paycheck Protection Program” data-reactid=”20″>Holes in the Paycheck Protection Program

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Paycheck Protection Program, which offers up to a $10 million forgivable loan per business, was unveiled in March with the hope that empowering banks would get the money out quickly to those that need it. Jovita Carranza, head of the Small Business Administration, said lenders would be a “single point-of-contact for small businesses”” data-reactid=”21″>The Paycheck Protection Program, which offers up to a $10 million forgivable loan per business, was unveiled in March with the hope that empowering banks would get the money out quickly to those that need it. Jovita Carranza, head of the Small Business Administration, said lenders would be a “single point-of-contact for small businesses”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The problem is that many small businesses – and especially minority-owned small businesses – didn’t have a pre-existing banking relationship to get them in line for funds.” data-reactid=”22″>The problem is that many small businesses – and especially minority-owned small businesses – didn’t have a pre-existing banking relationship to get them in line for funds.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Goldman Sachs recently surveyed businesses receiving PPP funds and found a “double-digit disparity” among black-owned businesses in the program both in how many were able to apply and how many eventually got approved.” data-reactid=”23″>Goldman Sachs recently surveyed businesses receiving PPP funds and found a “double-digit disparity” among black-owned businesses in the program both in how many were able to apply and how many eventually got approved.

NEWARK, NJ - MAY 09: A restaurant is closed on the corner of Branford Place and Halsey Street during Newark’s city wide shelter-in-place mandate during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on May 09, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey. So far this year, New Jersey’s Essex County alone has seen over 16,000 positive cases of COVID-19 resulting in more than 1,500 deaths. (Photo by Donell Woodson/Getty Images)NEWARK, NJ - MAY 09: A restaurant is closed on the corner of Branford Place and Halsey Street during Newark’s city wide shelter-in-place mandate during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on May 09, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey. So far this year, New Jersey’s Essex County alone has seen over 16,000 positive cases of COVID-19 resulting in more than 1,500 deaths. (Photo by Donell Woodson/Getty Images)
A closed restaurant in Newark during the city-wide shelter-in-place mandate. (Donell Woodson/Getty Images)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Businesses may soon have another option in the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program which will offer low-cost loans to small businesses. The Fed says it is still working to “operationalize” that program.” data-reactid=”35″>Businesses may soon have another option in the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program which will offer low-cost loans to small businesses. The Fed says it is still working to “operationalize” that program.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The program has delivered over half a trillion dollars to businesses around the country so far. In March, the Congress gave the program $310 billion in a second round of funding.&nbsp;As of Saturday, $195 billion from that current allotment had been spent.” data-reactid=”36″>The program has delivered over half a trillion dollars to businesses around the country so far. In March, the Congress gave the program $310 billion in a second round of funding. As of Saturday, $195 billion from that current allotment had been spent.

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Left to mix public and private sources of aid” data-reactid=”37″>Left to mix public and private sources of aid

To combat the shortfall, Baraka has tried to cobble together aid from a variety of public and private sources. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“We stood up a $6 million fund with the help of local corporations here, private sector, public sector together,” Baraka said, mentioning private partners like Goldman Sachs and Sean “Diddy” Combs’s businesses and investment portfolio.” data-reactid=”39″>“We stood up a $6 million fund with the help of local corporations here, private sector, public sector together,” Baraka said, mentioning private partners like Goldman Sachs and Sean “Diddy” Combs’s businesses and investment portfolio.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Goldman Sachs has promised $500 million to help small businesses around the world. Margaret Anadu, Goldman’s head its Urban Investment Group, also joined Yahoo Finance on Monday to discuss that program.” data-reactid=”40″>Goldman Sachs has promised $500 million to help small businesses around the world. Margaret Anadu, Goldman’s head its Urban Investment Group, also joined Yahoo Finance on Monday to discuss that program.

Goldman works directly with cities, including Newark. “We said, Mayor, we have this capital available,” Anadu said, then quickly “had dozens of businesses” to loan money to. She says the majority of the capital has been lent from the program as a whole and “the data that’s starting to come back is really encouraging.”

Newark’s fund allowed Baraka to offer grants from $2,000 to $10,000. He is very thankful for the assistance from Goldman and elsewhere, but he says he’s going to need much more to cover the 9,000 small businesses in his city.

It’s still “woefully woefully too small for the amount of businesses that we have,” Baraka said.

Newark's Mayor candidate Ras Baraka, 44, exits the poll station after voting during mayoral elections in Newark, New Jersey, May 13, 2014. Voters in Newark will pick a new mayor on Tuesday to fill a post held by popular Democrat Cory Booker and steer New Jersey's largest city as it struggles with an uptick in violent crime, unemployment and a possible state takeover of its finances. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)Newark's Mayor candidate Ras Baraka, 44, exits the poll station after voting during mayoral elections in Newark, New Jersey, May 13, 2014. Voters in Newark will pick a new mayor on Tuesday to fill a post held by popular Democrat Cory Booker and steer New Jersey's largest city as it struggles with an uptick in violent crime, unemployment and a possible state takeover of its finances. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Baraka was elected Mayor in 2014 after Cory Booker was elected to the U.S. Senate. (REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Baraka recently signed a letter supporting a plan led by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Steve Daines (R-MT) to infuse $50 billion into city and state relief funds around the country.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”55″>Baraka recently signed a letter supporting a plan led by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Steve Daines (R-MT) to infuse $50 billion into city and state relief funds around the country. 

Newark’s $6 million fund would get an additional $75 million under this plan, according to Baraka. Booker and Daines have written that the idea would “build on what is already working across the country.”

Baraka said the plan, which was formally introduced in the Senate last week, is a “great first step.” If it makes it into a the next bill, that deal is not expected to be finalized until at least June or July.

In the meantime, Baraka said, businesses are “suffering through the summer,” and if the money never materializes there are “millions of businesses that will not make it.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Ben Werschkul is a producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.” data-reactid=”63″>Ben Werschkul is a producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.

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