Small Business Resources for Hurricane Recovery

Date: August 30, 2017

Rebuilding after a record-breaking disaster will be tough; here's a list of resources plus ideas on how to help.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, affected individuals and businesses are in desperate need of relief to recover and rebuild. Because of the scale of the destruction, it’s uncertain how long recovery efforts will take to return the area to a state of normalcy, but many are predicting years, according to The New York Times.

And now Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas are facing Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms on record. What does all of this mean for small business owners?

Around 25 percent of small businesses are unable to reopen after a major disaster like Hurricane Harvey, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Institute for Business and Home Safety. Small businesses are at the heart of communities, bringing neighbors together and inspiring growth in local economies. As we look to the future, small businesses will need to support one another—as they already are finding the courage and resources to do so—in order to heal their community from this natural disaster.

In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane and flooding, affected small business owners are busy supporting loved ones and taking stock of their business losses. With preparedness and knowledge of the aid available, many long-term issues your small business may face can be prevented. For those impacted by the storm, here’s what you should keep in mind (from Huffington Post):

  1. The SBA is offering low-interest disaster loans for small business recovery from Hurricane Harvey.

  2. You’ll most likely need to address several insurance coverage issues. Here are some steps you can take to navigate the claims process.

  3. FEMA provides on the ground assistance and disaster loans. Learn more here.  

  4. Contact your congressperson, state, or local representative to ask for support.

  5. Avoid using unlicensed contractors. If you need to rebuild any of parts of your business, ensure that your contractor applies for a city building permit.

  6. Contact your customers about your recovery and plans to reopen. Being transparent will help you keep customer trust and loyalty.

  7. For real-time emergency alerts, updates, and information visit the City of Houston Emergency Information Center.

DOWNLOAD: Hurricane Harvey Assistance Info [PDF] >>

For those not affected by the storm, there are many ways to lend a hand and give small businesses more options for survival. Here’s what you can do, according to Inc.:

  1. Access to cash is one of the most pressing and immediate concerns for small business owners impacted by the hurricane. Give money to small businesses to assist in their recovery.

  2. Donate to charitable groups providing emergency responses in the area. There are many national organizations, like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, and local organizations, like the Houston Food Bank and United Way of Greater Houston. Check out this New York Times list of where to donate money and how to avoid being scammed.

  3. If you are located close to the affected area, offer your employees time off to volunteer.

For more ideas on how to provide emergency relief in whatever capacity you can, click here

To our members who were affected by Hurricane Harvey and who are staring down Irma, know that our thoughts are with you and your communities.


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