The Jamaica Plain Main Streets Relief Fund will distribute $500 grants to Jamaica Plain residents, or employees of neighborhood businesses. Applications are now open for the fund. Applications went live on Monday and priority will be given to applicants who are unable to receive or ineligible for other forms of public assistance. "We would like to place people of color, all genders, people without papers, people formerly incarcerated, and those facing housing instability at the front of the line for support," said an email sent out by JP Centre/South Main Streets. The total number of grants to be given out in the first round, or any successive rounds, depends on the success of the fundraising campaign.
JP Centre/South Main Streets (JPCSMS) is a volunteer-led non-profit that works to strengthen the JP Centre/South business district as a vibrant center of community life. Right now, we are confronting the economic realities of the COVID-19 crisis, and suddenly finding ourselves in the position to lead our community in economic recovery efforts. Dozens of volunteers have already reached out to discuss how to best support our local businesses. Please read below to learn how you can contribute to ongoing recovery efforts. JPCSMS has identified three projects for immediate and long term impact.
As we've all seen, everything is changing very quickly. Right now restaurants may provide delivery or takeout food. Businesses are allowed to choose to open. Here is the full list of more than 200 businesses open in some capacity, which was amazingly compiled by Jamaica Plain Centre South Main Streets. The list is being updated regularly, provides whether restaurants are offering takeout and/or delivery, and gift certificates via phone.
Boston area food establishments are short on staff and employees. But a new tactic, a reverse job fair being hosted by JP Centre/South Main Streets and Community Servings, is aiming to alleviate the employee shortage. At the reverse job fair employers visit tables while prospective employees are at the tables with their credentials, examples of their training, and have the opportunity to talk to possible employers. All prospective employees are graduates of the Community Servings' Job Training Program, a 12-week job training program designed for people interested in food service careers, but faced barriers to employments such as reentry, recovery, mental health, and homelessness. Click here to learn more about the job training program.
Businesses are being asked to offer their opinions on what they'd want to see if Centre/South Street were redesigned. The Boston Cyclists Union and JP Centre/South Main Streets are conducting a survey of businesses in the district, and will be sharing the survey's results with the Boston Transportation Department. The city's plans for the Centre/South redesign are on hold, but are expected to restart soon, according to the JPCSMS newsletter. It is part of the already completed redesign of Jackson Square and Hyde Square. The city has allocated more than $700,000 for the design alone, which would go from Hyde Square down Centre and South streets to the Arborway, said Ginger Brown, director of JPCSMS.
The survey asks business owners to rank seven options on what they feel is most important in a redesign: increased pedestrian/sidewalk space; improved bike infrastructure and bike parking; improved bus service; improved streetscape (like benches, lighting, greenery, public art); better signage for the business district; and increased parking for cars.