To support the recovery of New Jersey’s businesses and protect the overall economic interests of our state in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, Governor Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno have announced a series of business assistance services for those affected by the storm. Among these vital services are those related to financial support, information on temporary space, and technical assistance for impacted businesses. Information for all services may be easily accessed through New Jersey’s Business Action Center (BAC), by calling 1-866-534-7789 or through the state’s business portal at www. nj.gov/njbusiness/, the “one-stop” shop for business resources.
“In response to this natural disaster, New Jersey has coordinated a range of multi-agency resources to assist impacted businesses and ensure they are operational quickly,” said Governor Christie. “We have worked hard to grow our state’s economy by working to meet the needs of our business community. Providing a thorough and inter-departmental business recovery assistance program is another demonstration of our support for our business community and their workers.”
“Through the collective efforts of the Partnership for Action, which includes the Business Action Center, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and Choose New Jersey, in addition to the Departments of Banking and Insurance, Community Affairs and Labor and Workforce Development, we will work to protect the assets of our state’s businesses, provide the necessary temporary support to our workforce and sustain our economic vibrancy,” said Lt. Governor Guadagno.
The business recovery assistance services are designed to support businesses and workers who may be temporarily unable to perform their jobs due to the storm. These services include:
· Access to lines of credit of up to $500,000 for businesses that need access to cash to improve their damaged property while awaiting insurance proceeds;
· Grant awards for businesses to assist with on-the-job training costs for new workers hired specifically to assist in disaster-related activities, such as landscaping and tree removal, construction, insurance claims, building supplies sales, materials transport, utility work, call and claims centers staffing, and infrastructure clearing and repair.
· Availability of the Business Resource Centers at any of the 17 local One-Stop Career Centers across the state as temporary hubs for businesses to access telephone and internet services as well as for job seekers and displaced workers seeking workforce development and unemployment assistance.
· The availability of Disaster Unemployment Benefits to provide income security for those displaced workers suffering temporary storm-related job loss.
· Dispatch of Rapid Response team members to identified Disaster Recovery Centers to assist displaced workers
· Availability of services through New Jersey Youth Corps to assist non-profit, public and governmental entities in a variety of ways for disaster relief and clean-up.
In addition, BAC’s Business Call Center is also the one-stop resource for more information on how to get businesses back up and running. The Call Center staff can assist with the following services:
· Arranging business facility inspections for buildings suffering major flood damage, as such conditions require structural integrity inspections before utility service can be restored. These inspections are handled in local code enforcement offices and by local code enforcement officials. Anticipating an enormous increase in such work, the Department of Community Affairs has mobilized all qualified personnel to assist local governments in this effort.
· Advocate for businesses seeking assistance from local utilities to restore electric, phone, gas and water services.
· Advocate with insurance carriers to file and expedite claims.
· Provide information on how to qualify for federal recovery assistance, and
· Connect businesses to the other county and local business services and to the services offered by the Small Business Administration and Small Business Development Centers that include assistance with insurance claims, as well as loans and business plan revisions.
For further information about best practices in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, please visit www.ready.nj.gov for continual updates.