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Where do we go from here? Understanding Disaster Recovery Grants

Nov 19

Written by: Grants Office, LLC
Monday, November 19, 2012  RssIcon

By Dan Casion

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy most folks' attention is drawn to recover and rebuilding.  Whether you are a municipality, institution, business, or family, getting things back up running and returning to some sense of normalcy is top of mind.  That said, grants that support disaster recovery are not a “one size fits all” circumstance and understanding what is available to assist your recovery efforts and where to go to find them is paramount to maximizing those efforts.

Generally speaking, grants and funding for disaster recovery covers everything from local government to businesses all the way down to individual families.

Let’s take a closer look at what is available at the municipal and institutional level first.  Obviously, the assistance provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) should be the first stop in your post disaster efforts.  Depending on the circumstances and location, the application process can vary.  It is strongly suggested that you contact your FEMA representative ASAP to ascertain exactly what assistance is available to your organization and what the application process entitles.   By the time this article is published, most local government’s and organzation’s mindset has probably shifted to long term recovery efforts.  The Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Disaster Relief Opportunity Program provides a myriad of technical, disaster recovery, economic recovery planning, and public works assistance.   Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, however there are certain timing thresholds attached to this program so it is advised that potential applicants contact their branch office to see if/when they can apply.  Here’s a link to help you track down your local branch office: .

Businesses small and large (including agriculture and nonprofit organizations) have disaster recovery funding options too.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loans via its Business Physical Disaster Loans to replace damaged property to bring back it back to its pre-disaster condition-this includes real property, machinery, equipment, fixtures, inventory, and leasehold agreements.  Uninsured and under-insured physical damage is also covered by these SBA loans.  The application is a two part process.  The first part is fairly easy and can be done on line at the following link: .  After the initial application is completed and is determined to be valid, the SBA will send an inspector for an onsite visit to estimate the value of your damage.   Also available from the SBA is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).  Simply put, the EIDL provides working capital to small businesses in declared disaster areas so that the business can carry on its operations.    The application process is essentially the same as the Business Physical Disaster Loans process described earlier in this paragraph and can be filed at anytime.

For individuals and families, immediate assistance is available from FEMA at .  This web page provides information on what kinds of assistance may be available to you, a link to an online application, and a link to track the status of your application.  Financial assistance is also available for families from the SBA.   You don’t need to own a business to take advantage of this assistance, whether you’re a homeowner, renter, or personal-property owner you can apply to the SBA for a loan to aid in your recovery efforts.  Assistance ranges from loans to $40,000 for personal property like cars, appliances, furniture, and clothing to up to $200,000 in loans for property repair or replacement.  There are a number of considerations and restrictions that do apply specifically to this assistance, so be sure to fully read and understand them before you apply ( ).

The opportunities discussed in this article aren’t the only disaster recovery funding options out there, so it is strongly advised that you explore what might be available to you from your state or local level as well.   A simple search (e.g. “new york state disaster assistance”) in your preferred search engine or visiting your state’s disaster recover/response web site should lead you to additional options.  In the meantime, the entire team at Grants Office wishes a speedy recovery to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy.


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