Notes from Conference Call regarding Hurricane Sandy Recovery

The following are notes from the Nov 8th conference call with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), New Jersey Economic Development Authority and New Jersey Business Action Center senior officials regarding the federal and state government's efforts to help small businesses and homeowners recover from Hurricane Sandy.

Credit to:

Donna Miller

Above & Beyond, Inc.

Your Virtual Office Staff

Direct Dial: 973-509-4632


Conference Call Notes

November 8, 2012 2:00 pm  


Maureen Hassett – NJEDA –

  • ·         Mainstreet Disaster Relief Program –
    • o   Guarantees of up to $500,000 of commercial lines of credit (existing or new) – to improve damaged property
    • o   They work with 30 banks/premier lenders – a range of bank sizes
    • o   Expedited approval – 5 days
    • o   You do have to have insurance
      • §  Don’t wait for them to pay – apply for the bridge loan (online application)
    • o   Requires collateral

Michael Van Wagner – NJ Business Action Center 866-534-7789 –

  • o   One stop shop for business large & small
  • o   Advocate for inter-agency (DOC, DOT, etc) communication
  • o   Work with NJEDA, SBA, SBDC
  • o   Call them if you don’t know where to turn, specifically
    • o   If you need Structural CO’s – they can help with delays
    • o   Power restoration – they may be able to help
    • o   Filing insurance claims – Dept of Insurance (292-7272)
    • o   Dept of Labor issues

Beth Zimmerman – FEMA

  • o   They do not have programs that provide direct assistance to private sector but they work closely with other organizations.  They receive daily briefings about status of businesses (open, close, progress).  Work hand in hand to help state organizations.  Things are stabilizing. 
  • o   If we have employees – they offer individual assistance – register at
  • o   They have National Disaster Framework at – defines how to work together on disaster response & recovery.
  • o   SBA shares the role of re-building economic infrastructure
  • o shows how all work together

James Rivera – SBA Disaster Assistance Dept – 800-659-2955 or

  • Direct Disaster loan programs
    • Home (register with FEMA first) up to $200,000 (property) or $40,000 (contents)
    • Business – up to $2,000,000 – repair, supplies, inventory or working capital (if business was shut down
      • §  It is a loan – look at credit
      • §  Best available collateral
      • §  Low interest rates -4-6%

John Cirraca – Small Business Contracting Opportunities – Government Contracting

  • 23% of contracts must go to small business
  • They are committed to engaging local community
  • Work with FEMA & Dept of Homeland Security
  • Identify opportunities for small business
  • They have area procurement directors (link on website) to determine needs & present vendors
  • On - links for opportunities for small business and larger contractors (for small business to reach out to work with)

Michael Chodos – SBA office of Entrepreneurial Development- (front page, find local resources & links)

  • Large group of counselors of coaches who can help answer questions & gain access to resources
  • Analyze business – needs to rebuild
  • In the form of SBDC (Small Business Development center), WBC (Womens Business Centers) and SCORE chapters
  • They will be setting up Disaster Assistance Centers – application needs & ongoing recover and planning needs


  • State of NJ may come out with a loan program – there will be many loan opportunities
  • Question was posed about the lack of mail delivery by Gateway Chamber of Commerce – Fred @ SBA will look into it.   NJ Business Action Centers have been looking into this problem as well.  They understand the importance, but didn’t have “real information”
  • Issue was raised about contractors needing bonding – they do have resources to help with this and remove barriers
    • Go to the list of prime contractors who have full contact info as well as what expertise they are looking for in sub-contractors (another way to work around bonding)
  • Pharmacy badly damaged – he rents.  Landlord moving very slowly.  How can he push the landlord along?
    • Mike @ Business Action Center said call me & they’ll investigate and see if they can help
    • While that’s happening, are trailers available so they can serve customers –
      • §  Beth with FEMA – HHS (Health & Human Services) may be able to help
  • Small printer – closed for 5 days – business is now 1/10th of what it was.  She’s scared.
    • Disaster loan programs available for a drop in capital.  You can apply for loan to help pay for fixed costs (as if storm had not occurred) over 3-6-9 months until income comes back.  Apply online.
  • Dave – Flooded 3 times.  Already has SBA disaster loan at 7% - can he can that interest reduced? 
    • You can ask for deferment 3-6-9-12 months till get back on feet
    • He should also re-apply to replace the 7% loan with a lower rate loan (in essence a re-finance)


They will record the call and will also be setting up another call.