Disaster Assistance News And Options For Businesses

July 30, 2018 Daily Update

SBA Loans Are Available

Low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)s from the SBA are available to Florida small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and private nonprofit organizations affected by red tide and toxic algal blooms.

SBA’s Customer Service Representatives will be available at the Business Recovery Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications.

Lee County
City/County Annex Building
1825 Hendry Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901
Opens Friday, Sept. 7 at 11 a.m.
Hours: Monday – Friday9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Contact: Duane Hoverstein,(320) 282-1677, [email protected]

Click here for more information on red tide claims.

Click here for more information on blue-green algae claims

Emergency Bridge Loans

Florida businesses that have been impacted by Lake Okeechobee Discharge/Algae Blooms and Red Tide may now apply for short-term, interest-free loans through the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. Activated by Governor Rick Scott, the bridge loan program helps bridge the gap for small businesses between the time impact occurs until other resources are available, including insurance claims. Currently, there is no federal assistance designated for this occurrence. The deadline to apply is September 7, 2018.

Under the program, small businesses in:

  • Designated Disaster Areas: Lake Okeechobee Discharge/Algae Blooms: Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties.
  • Red Tide: Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.

are eligible to apply, a business must have been in business prior to July 9, 2018, for Lake Okeechobee Discharge/Algae Blooms and August 13, 2018, for Red Tide and suffered physical damage and/or economic injury as a result of the designated disaster.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.

Please visit http://www.floridadisasterloan.org/ for more information.

If you need additional assistance please call (850)-815-4925.

Gov. Scott Issues Emergency Order for Red Tide

August 13, 2018

Read more.

Congressman Francis Rooney Calls For Federal Assistance

Rooney Asks SBA Disaster Assistance for Businesses

Rooney Calls For State of Emergency

Rooney Invites Federal Agencies To Visit Florida.

Lee County Mayors Ask For Expansion of State of Emergency

From the New Press August 6, 2018

Florida politicians are calling for action in hopes of opening up additional aid to offset the damage caused by the toxic algae blooms and red tide that persists in the region.

Six Lee County mayors are asking the county to expand the state of emergency Gov. Rick Scottdeclared last month. Meanwhile, U.S Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Naples, has called on the White House to issue a state of emergency to “make a host of funding and resources available that would otherwise not be possible.”

Read more.

Statement From Lee County Commissioner Kiker Dated August 4, 2018

‘As liaison on behalf of the BOCC to the Lee County Mayor’s I am working with them to promote their agenda and incorporating actions from the county going forward. The following identifies a request to expand the state of emergency:

  • WHEREAS, provide financial assistance for all cleanup of red drift algae, blue-green algae and fish kills in all waterways including, but not limited to, all rivers, canals, bay beaches and gulf side beaches; and 
  • WHEREASprovide financial assistance to all businesses that can demonstrate loss of income from any of the environmental events including, but not limited to, red drift algae, blue-green algae and fish kills; and 
  • WHEREASprovide financial assistance for workers and/or individuals impacted by the environmental events including, but not limited to, red drift algae, blue-green algae and fish kills; and 
  • WHEREASprovide public relations assistance in communicating daily updates during this local emergency; and 
  • WHEREASeliminate deviation from the regulation schedule for the Kissimmee chain of lakes to reduce and/or eliminate any inflows into Lake Okeechobee

In addition the county is either performing cleanup or reimbursing the municipalities that choose to do the work. The county has hired a company to extract algae and I expect that we will ask for further relief for the fish from canals where appropriate. Obviously it won’t occur everywhere at once so patience is key.

Even though there will be grants, etc. available we will be moving forward with funding from the county to make sure that we are moving as fast as we can. We have provided dumpsters along the beach for volunteers to use.

We continue to work with Washington and State.

I am interested in any data that you might provide that would substantiate the requests below. Some of this is new to a state of emergency but certainly worth trying.’

Please continue with your very timely updates and we will continue to communicate on behalf of the businesses and those that live and visit there.’

You can contact Commissioner Kiker at: [email protected]

Short Time Compensation Program

The Short Time Compensation program? STC is a layoff aversion program designed to help employers stabilize their business by retaining skilled employees to ensure production levels are still able to meet the customer’s demands.

If any of the following questions pertain to your business, we may be able to assist you.

  1. Has your business been impacted by Lake Okeechobee discharge Incident?
  2. How many employees do you have, and what are their normal hours?
  3. Has your business been shut down or experienced temporary loss of profit/income/customers/production due to the incident?
  4. If closed, how long has your business been closed due to incident?
  5. How long do you think it will take your business to resume normal operations?
  6. Did you have to or do you expect to lay off any employees?

If so Reemployment Assistance in Tallahassee may be able to assist you through one of their programs. Contact Brenda Thomas-Young at [email protected]myflorida.com for more information.

Take The DEO Survey And Apply For An Emergency Loan

If the ongoing algae blooms have caused economic or physical damage to your business, please complete the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) damage assessment survey. The information you provide will be used to help DEO best determine how to help impacted businesses.

Be sure to select ‘Lake Okeechobee Discharge Algae Blooms as the Event/Disaster.’

Take the survey.

Registering with https://FloridaDisaster.Biz is really smart for any business as once you’ve registered and any kind of emergency is taking place, the businesses can get the latest evacuation info as well as post event re-entry information to get their business up and running again.

Bizaster App And Loan Assistance From The SBDC

The Florida SBDC at FGCU offers Bizaster, a free mobile disaster assistance app. Bizaster, available in both English and Spanish for Android and iOS, features risk assessments, customizable checklists, and other resources to help businesses prepare, respond, and recover from natural and man-made disasters. Bizaster can be downloaded from the App Store or via Google Play.

If you need assistance completing a general SBA small business loan, the SBDC can help. Call (239) 745-3705 for information.

Duane Hoverstein will be on the beach to assist businesses personally. Exact dates and times TBA.

TDC Emergency Beach Cleanup Fund

Should you need to seek reimbursement for expenses from the TDC Emergency Beach Cleanup fund, the point of contact and manager of this fund is Cindy Mitar with Lee County Parks & Recreation who is copied on this email. She can also be reached at 239.533.7414. I have attached a copy of the Lee County emergency beach cleanup procedures for your reference.

We are appreciative when you keep the VCB informed of challenges in the field, please notify us should you be activating any emergency beach cleanup.

Click here for a copy of the Lee County emergency beach cleanup procedures for your reference.

Statement From The Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association

Click here to read.