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NJEDA announces Henri and Ida relief grant to support recovery for small businesses 

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced the approval of the Henri/Ida Business Assistance Grant Program. The $10.5 million program will provide short-term, immediate rent/mortgage reimbursement in grants of $1,000 to $5,000 for NJ businesses and non-profits that suffered physical damage from the effects of recent tropical storms Henri and Ida.

The NJEDA expects to launch an online application for the program at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 17th. 

About the Henri/Ida Grant Program

The Henri/Ida Business Assistance Grant Program will provide support to businesses and non-profits impacted by hurricanes Henri and Ida that have up to 50 full-time equivalent employees as reported on their last WR-30 form (Q2 2021) with the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL) and have a commercial location in the State that suffered physical damage as a result of tropical storms Henri and Ida. 

NJEDA

“Countless New Jersey businesses endured the wrath of Tropical Storms Henri and Ida in recent weeks, and today’s action by the NJEDA’s Board will allow us to move swiftly to help those businesses in need,” said Governor Murphy. “Time is clearly of the essence and we are determined to get funds out to businesses and non-profits as quickly as possible.”

Of the $10.5 million, $10 million will be available for businesses and non-profits impacted by Ida and $500,000 will be available for businesses and non-profits impacted by Henri. Additionally, to ensure grants reach the hardest hit communities, including communities of color, one-third of the $10 million in funding will be targeted to businesses with a primary business location within the 715 census tracts designated as eligible to be selected as an Opportunity Zone.

 

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“The NJEDA shares Governor Murphy’s sense of urgency as we work to provide support to small businesses and non-profits dealing with the impact of Henri and Ida,” said NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan. “The need for assistance is particularly dire, as these storms occurred just as New Jersey was emerging from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s more critical than ever that we do our best to help impacted entities return to normal operations so they may continue their role as the economic drivers of New Jersey’s communities.”

Grant eligibility requirements 

Landlords and home-based businesses are not eligible for grant funding through this program. To be eligible, the applying entity must:

  • Provide certification of an unmet need due to damage and/or business interruption.
    • This includes, but is not limited to, flooding, interior or exterior damage to the building structure, roof damage, and siding damage, all of which are directly related to tropical storm Henri and Ida. Loss of power alone will not be considered physical damage.
  • Provide documentation of physical damage to the applicant’s physical commercial location.
  • Have been in operation on August 1, 2021.
  • Present a valid Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  • Submit recent wage reporting form (WR30), if applicable.
  • Submit evidence of an August rent/mortgage payment of at least $1,000 as well as have a need that is greater than $1,000.
  • Be registered to do business in the State of New Jersey, as evidenced by a valid Business Registration Certificate.
  • Be in good standing with the Department of Taxation and DOL, and if applicable, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Department of Children and Families, and/or the Department of Human Services.
  • Complete an affidavit identifying all funding sources related to recovery from tropical storms Henri and Ida, including prior grants, insurance, and Small Business Administration loans and grants.
  • Comply with any additional requirements that may apply.

You may be interested: Hurricane Ida leaves vulnerable communities in ruin

Application process

Business owners and non-profit leaders are asked to thoroughly document all physical damage as they prepare to apply for assistance through this and any future programs, including taking clear photographs and saving receipts for repairs and associated materials.

Online applications for the Henri/Ida Business Assistance Grant Program will be available at programs.njeda.com at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 17th, 2021.

Applicants who have not applied for NJEDA assistance in the past will need to create a new Username and Password. Applicants who have previously applied for NJEDA COVID-19 relief programs can use their existing Username and Password. The NJEDA encourages anyone considering applying to visit programs.njeda.com prior to September 17th to create a new Username and Password or to verify that they remember their existing Username and Password.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, based upon the date in which the Authority receives a completed application submission.

Businesses whose applications are denied will have the right to appeal. Appeals must be filed within the timeframe set in the declination letter (which must be at least 3 days but no longer than 10 days).

For more information, visit NJEDA Henri and Ida Relief

Hurricane Ida leaves vulnerable communities in ruin

This past week, Hurricane Ida devastated communities throughout Louisiana and surrounding states, sweeping in on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Now, residents are dealing with the aftermath and the long road ahead. For many, the damage is the least of their worries as city-wide power outages threaten the health of residents. 

In New Orleans, a major transmission tower collapsed, resulting in residents of the city and surrounding western suburbs waking without power on Monday morning, the Washington Post reported.

Ida aftermath deepens the poverty gap among vulnerable communities 

As residents anxiously await power to be restored, many have been left to mourn the loss of their homes with no plan for the future. 

Carmen Girton, 43, a resident of Shady Nook Mobile Home Park in LaPlace, Louisiana, told The Washington Post that her trailer had been completely “shredded” in the storm. Girton lived there with her boyfriend, children, and two grandchildren.  

“It’s scary,” she said. “I’m so afraid. It’s devastating, having no home. We don’t know what we’re going to do. We don’t have insurance. None of us have insurance out here. We worry. What are we going to do?”

In Lafayette, Elsa Lopez, along with dozens of family members, congregated at her son’s Duson home to take shelter. Much of the family lived in mobile homes and Reynieri Castro was the only one whose home had a solid foundation, Indystar reported

Castro opened up his home with open arms, not only to the family but to the Latino community at large. “Yesterday, I was announcing that anyone who needed refuge or help, we would be available for them, supporting the Latino community,” said Castro. 

However, the Lafayette community was lucky, with much of the community being spared by Hurricane Ida. 

Still, devastation and wreckage throughout Louisiana and surrounding states will require communities to come together to support and rebuild.

Power outages leave communities vulnerable to rising heat 

Hurricane Ida

Hurricane Ida on August 29 as a powerful category 4 major hurricane. Date: 29 August 2021. Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Currently, it is estimated that power could take anywhere from seven to 10 days to be restored, according to Entergy, the region’s main energy provider. Though other areas may face longer delays as much as three weeks. Without power, residents could face health emergencies as heat rises throughout the week. 

This summer, the US has seen record-breaking temperatures, resulting in an increase in heat related illnesses and in extreme cases, death–such as the migrant farmworkers who have died working the fields recently. These cases, unfortunately, are more likely to affect low-income communities and communities of color who, historically, have been disadvantaged. Wealthier communities will be able to get by on generators or have already evacuated and relocated. Meanwhile, those who have been left behind in the aftermath face the threat of the oncoming heat.

For ethnic communities, such as Hispanics and Latinos, the statistics reveal a startling disadvantage. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, “extreme weather driven by climate change can also make the pollution burden worse for Latinos. For example, after Hurricane Harvey, the petrochemical industry reported releasing 320 tons of extra toxic pollution in Houston, nearly all of it concentrated within four miles of a neighborhood that is 98% Latino.” 

You might be interested: A world on fire: How to survive the rising heat

Additionally, Latinos are 21% more likely than whites to live in “urban heat islands.” These heat islands can be “up to 22 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than rural and suburban areas because a large portion of city surfaces are covered in pavement and concrete and lack tree cover.” 

A local weather advisory following Hurricane Ida read, “Heat is one of the most deadly weather hazards — don’t underestimate it.” 

The Washington Post reported that giving residents “access to power-charging stations, cooling stations, oxygen, and other needs” is the focus right now according to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D). 

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