BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — COVID-19 relief benefits are just one month away from expiring. That means the extra $600 of federal unemployment benefits, eviction reprieve, and small business loans will likely be coming to an end.
Since March, the government has stepped up to help millions affected by the COVID-19 crisis, including Bob Gugino and his employees at Bisons Automotive.
“Fortunately, we were allowed to be open as we were deemed essential," Gugino said. "The problem was, no one was driving around, and people weren't getting out much. So for the first, probably two months of it, business was pretty bad.
Gugino says business was so slow he had to apply for PPP.
“That was able to pay my, you know, utility bills. My salary for my employees,” he said.
Two months later, Gugino says he no longer needs the extra cash.
“That payroll protection money really went a long way towards helping me fill the gap," Gugino said. "Now that we’re back doing business like we normally would, I don’t really need any other funding.”
But the housing justice organizer of PUSH Buffalo says tenants in the area may.
“Buffalo is 58 percent renters," Ángel Rosado said. "So when the evictions start to happen, you’re gonna see a mass wave of like homelessness.”
And Rosado says he fears COVID-19 will create an even bigger public health crisis.
“We’re gonna see people dying in the masses again, but this time they’re gonna be in the streets.”
Experts say they expect some of these PPP programs to be extended, but it’s unclear which or for how long.