Find Help for Businesses Affected by Hurricane Harvey Here
America has, in the last couple of weeks, turned its attention from football and politics to the struggles of people in Texas. Hurricane Harvey not only paid a visit, but seems to be staying a while, causing unimaginable flooding and destruction. Rescues are continuing, as are many wonderful humanitarian efforts on the part of government, industry and individuals. These are helping to provide food and shelter to those whose lives have been turned upside down.
Our hearts go out first to families and the most vulnerable. This is certainly as it should be. Who can forget that photo of that determined, nursing home resident using a walker with water up to her waist? But I think it’s important that we also consider the plight of the businesses whose very survival has been placed at risk. There is help available for businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Businesses Are People—and Hope
A business isn’t an office or factory; that’s just a building. A business really consists of the owners, managers and employees who depend upon it for the well-being of their families. In the case of Houston and a large part of Texas right now, businesses will also provide a critical link in the rebuilding of a strong and vibrant community.
The businesses taken down in the storm-wracked area are not only the source of employment for many local residents – they are the lifelines that will help their communities eventually return to normalcy. Where residents will buy their food. Get the supplies they’ll need to begin the recovery. Obtain the services they will depend upon as never before for as they find a path forward.
Here’s Where to Find Help for Businesses Affected by Hurricane Harvey
In catastrophes just like Harvey, our company works closely with many businesses to protect valuable data and accounts receivables. We deeply empathize with the challenges faced by those who have felt Harvey’s destruction. I’d like to offer a few thoughts and perhaps a little glimmer of hope in what must feel like a desperate and overwhelming situation.
- First, know that the SBA (Small Business Administration) is already making low-interest disaster loans to businesses in and around the Houston areas. This helpful Forbes article has more details. But the first step for this and all forms of disaster assistance is to call the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at (800) 621-3362.
- Contact any trade associations and business services networks that might prove helpful. For one example, the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) has begun to offer various types of support to its members, as it did a few years ago when Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast.
- Product- specific trade groups are another potential source of monetary or other assistance. The National Shooting Sports Foundation is making funds available to its gun-related member retailers in the affected area.
- It’s also worth noting that as your business begins to regain its capabilities, it is important to let your customers know that. Don’t let them assume otherwise and delay (or go elsewhere with) orders that could help you recover more quickly.
Notes of Optimism
While it is hard to see any silver linings in Harvey’s clouds, there are reasons to be positive. First, Linda McMahon, Administrator of the SBA, has said “Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.” That is very encouraging.
Also, The New York Times suggests that while the damage is indeed catastrophic, a quick recovery is likely. The Houston area represents 3% of the country’s GDP. As a center of commerce and investment, money will continue to flow and aid in the recovery. In addition, the damage and disruption will obviously have an impact in August and September. But the follow-up positive economic effects of rebuilding homes and replacing motor vehicles will provide a boost late this year and in 2018.
Stay Strong Texas
There is help for businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey. We encourage Texas and especially Houston-area businesses to stay strong and seek the help they need. We trust that residents and government entities will provide all possible support early and often. Communities will not thrive until their businesses do, so they deserve all the help they can get.
Please add your comment below if you know of ANY resources not listed above to help businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey.