What a lender for the vendors.
The bank announced the news on Thursday, revealing that the funding will give over 2,000 vendors upward of $1,000 a pop in cash assistance for rent, utilities and food. Partner Robin Hood is donating an additional $375,000 to the cause, coordinated with the Street Vendor Project.
“There are approximately 20,000 New Yorkers who sell food and merchandise from the streets and sidewalks of New York City, most of whom are women of color, military veterans and low-wage immigrant workers,” Morgan Stanley said in a press release. “And while street vendors contribute an estimated $293 million to the city’s economy, the informal nature of their work or immigration status has barred them from government disaster relief and unemployment insurance.”
About 76% of vendors have struggled to make ends meet and adapt to shifting regulations amid the ongoing outbreak, according to a recent study by Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing + Organizing. What’s more, almost one in four vendors say their household members have had COVID-19 or symptoms of the viral disease, “with catastrophic results for the entire family.”
Though food carts have slowly returned to the streets since June, meager foot traffic has devastated their bottom line.
Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO James P. Gorman called street vendors “a central part of the cultural fabric” in NYC and pledged his company’s full support to lending them a helping hand during this trying time.
“With our headquarters in Times Square, many of our employees rely on these vendors for their morning coffee or a quick lunch. Morgan Stanley is committed to supporting those in our community that support us on a daily basis as they face unprecedented economic hardship,” Gorman said in a statement. “We are proud to work with Robin Hood and the Street Vendor Project to provide economic relief to vendors during a critically difficult time and encourage others to join us in this important mission.”
Christopher Heywood of NYC and Company recently told Fox 5 that tourism to the Big Apple brings in about $72 billion every year. Meanwhile, the city's official marketing and tourism group doesn't expect international visitors to return in large numbers until 2025.