To support the recovery of New Jersey’s businesses and protect the overall economic interests of our state in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, 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.newjerseybusiness.gov, the “one-stop” shop for business resources. Agents are also available to assist callers that speak Spanish.
“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 Lt. Governor Guadagno. “Providing a thorough and inter-departmental business recovery assistance program is another demonstration of our support for our business community and their workers. The Business Action Center can help businesses tap into a variety of resources that will help them begin to recover from this catastrophic storm.”
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:
- Guarantees of up to $500,000 for commercial lines of credit to businesses that need access to cash to improve their damaged property while awaiting insurance proceeds, with all related New Jersey Economic Development Authority fees waived.
- 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 currently operational 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 - Temporary Hubs for Affected Business to Access Telephones and Internet Services
- 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.
- Advocating for businesses seeking information from local utilities to restore electric, phone, gas and water services.
- Advocating with insurance carriers to file and expedite claims.
- Providing information on how to qualify for federal recovery assistance, and
- Connecting 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.
Since October 28, 2012, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP) has staffed a Private Sector Desk at the Regional Intelligence Operations Center (ROIC), which has served as the primary point of contact for critical private sector industries leading up to, during and after Hurricane Sandy. OHSP staff operating the Private Sector Desk at the ROIC can be reached at 609-963-6810.
For further information about best practices in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, please visit www.ready.nj.gov for continual updates.