More than 20 NYC real estate firms have joined together in a citywide effort to support health care workers, small businesses, and people experiencing food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign, Real Estate Has Your Back (#REHasYourBack), has already provided 3,000 meals to healthcare workers and residents of NYCHA housing, with thousands more expected over the next ten days.
The effort began when Seth Weissman, founder of Urban Standard Capital, approached a handful of restaurants and caterers that were hit hard by the widespread shutdowns, and offered to finance an effort to deliver hot meals to hospital workers and New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity.
He subsequently reached out to the city’s real estate community and offered to match contributions made by firms that joined the effort. Twenty-one firms have joined the effort, with more expected to come on board shortly.
In addition to the 3,000 meals already distributed, #REHasYourBack over the next 10 days will provide an additional 2,500 hot lunches to residents of several NYCHA housing complexes in Queens and Brooklyn.
Public housing tenants regularly travel to work each day to keep essential services running – many of them are healthcare workers.
“This is the least we can do for people who are keeping the city running during this crisis,” Weissman said.
“In addition to sending meals to people on the front lines, we are focused on supporting small business tenants and their employees to keep as many people employed as possible. A major goal of #REHasYourBack is to support local restaurant businesses and their employees hardest hit by the quarantine.”
More than 20 real estate firms to date have joined Urban Standard, including Sugar Hill Capital Partners, Fisher Development, Silverback, Maxim Capital, Castellan Capital, S3 Capital Partners, B6 Real Estate Advisors, Alchemy Ventures, Hirshmark Capital, Winthrop Capital, TerraCRG, Fairstead, Klosed Properties, Hildreth Advisors, ZG Property Group, H Equities and Bestreich Realty Group.
The efforts of community leaders and restaurant owners have been critical to the success of the #REHasYourBack program.
The effort has been supported by community leaders Ignazio (Iggy) Terranova in Queens and Andy Marte and Henry Butler in Brooklyn. Other key contributors include: Bishop Mitchell G.Taylor, Co-Founder and CEO, Urban Upbound; Kelly Craig, co-Founder of LIC Relief & Relief NYC, Paul Neuman of Neuman’s Kitchen Events and Catering, Torri Clayton of Cheri’s Bed Stuy, Eric Lemonides and Jason Weiner of Almond Restaurant, and Colin Ambrose of Estia’s Little Kitchen, among many others.
Paul Neuman, Chief Inspiration Officer of NK, said, “The coronavirus hit the catering industry like a tsunami. Overnight, companies like NK went from employing hundreds of people to employing virtually no one. Our goals are to provide healthy and nutritious food to communities in need, provide employment for our employees, and say thanks to the people who make NYC and Philadelphia great places to live and work. We’re trying to bring a flicker of light to the darkness.”
Weissman’s #REHasYourBack has set up a GoFundMe account to encourage further financial support from the real estate community to ensure this important outreach lasts as long as possible.