The City of Philadelphia distributed millions of dollars in aid for small businesses, but commercial corridors in high-poverty neighborhoods received less funding than their wealthier counterparts, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.
A new report published by the Office of the Controller found that as wealthier neighborhoods and high-poverty neighborhoods received similar amounts of funding from the Covid-19 Small Business Relief Fund, larger percentages of businesses in Center City’s commercial corridors received money when compared to corridors in poorer areas.
Business corridors in Center City saw more than 10% of their commercial properties receive funding through the program, while areas like Kensington Avenue and Lehigh Avenue saw 2.2% and 3.1% of their businesses receive grants, respectively.
Thirty percent of businesses in Chinatown, however, were awarded grants. At 29%, Chinatown fell just outside of the 30% poverty level parameter defined in the report.
Poorer corridors had more businesses awarded grants through the program, and the report notes that high-poverty neighborhoods "should be targets of future rounds of investment."
"Commercial corridors, particularly those outside Center City, are vital for neighborhood economies, providing access to goods and jobs for local residents," the report said. "When examining potential targets for future support, it is important to assess the existing investment across the city’s commercial corridors."