State seeks to assess storm’s impact on businesses
The New Hampshire Business Resource Center is reaching out to business owners who have been affected by this week’s torrential rains and high winds with hopes of determining the areas of need and the level of impact.
Businesses with flood-related issues can contact the Business Resource Center at 1-800-417-4110. Affected homeowners can contact the Office of Emergency Management Flood information Hotline at 1-800-458-2407.
Word of the outreach by the Business Resource Center comes as the state awaits completion of preliminary damage assessment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Gov. John Lynch requested on Tuesday that FEMA begin conducting a preliminary damage assessment to determine the state’s eligibility for federal disaster relief.
Before federal assistance is granted, FEMA must determine that the state meets federal damage guidelines in the wake of this week’s nor’easter.
“Many New Hampshire communities have been overwhelmed by the flooding, with countless roads damaged or impassable,” Lynch said in a statement released by his office on Tuesday. “Getting federal assistance will help out communities rebuild their infrastructure.”
Alice Zachos, business development specialist for the New Hampshire office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, said local SBA officials are awaiting word from the governor’s office before instituting their disaster relief programs.
“The state has to be declared a disaster on a federal level” before SBA assistance programs kick in, Zachos said.
Once a federal disaster declaration is made based on FEMA’s assessments, low-rate SBA loans for up to 30 years may be made available to homeowners or renters for the purposes of replacing real estate or personal property and to businesses of any size to repair or replace property, real estate, inventory, supplies or machinery and equipment damaged by the recent storms.
Nonprofits also are eligible, according to the SBA Disaster Loans Fact sheet found on the SBA’s Web site at sba.gov/nh.
Economic injury disaster loans also may be available to provide working capital to small businesses and small agricultural cooperatives to assist through the disaster recovery period.
Should the state not get a federal disaster declaration, the SBA can make declarations of a physical disaster or economic-impact disaster based on specific criteria.
According to Zachos, residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by registering online with FEMA at FEMA.gov or by calling FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA. – TRACIE STONE