Governor Malloy Focuses on Helping CT Business’s Recover From Hurricane Irene
On August 27th, a hurricane warning was issued for Southern Connecticut’s Long Island Sound coast, while the remainder of the state was issued a tropical storm warning. The category 3 storm which had rolled in off the Atlantic had begun to crawl up the Eastern coast of the U.S nearly a week earlier, leaving significant damage and a number of fatalities in its path.
Though the storm packed a lighter punch than was initially feared, the state didn’t escape unscathed. While a handful of people checked into hospitals with storm-related injuries, two were left dead after canoeing in flood waters and two others were killed in a hurricane-related electrical fire. One hundred forty-three homes across the state were destroyed as a result of high winds and torrential rain, while nearly 700,000 other homes were left without power.
Preliminary reports of damage put the repair bill for the state at anywhere from $10 to $15 million just in overtime costs and damage to public buildings, a devastating blow to a state already troubled with debt and unemployment. Aside from the immediate physical damages, businesses already weakened by economic conditions were dealt an additional blow.
As clean up crews dispatched and CT residents began to recover, Governor Dan Malloy changed his focus from routine press conferences documenting the status of the storm to stabilizing and rebuilding.
“This storm had a tremendous impact on residents and businesses alike. As we move forward in our recovery efforts, I want to ensure that businesses that were affected get the financial aid and technical help that they need in a timely fashion. Providing this type of assistance will ensure Connecticut companies get back to business, which in turn will help the state’s economy stay on track in the wake of this devastating storm.”
The result? A business assistance program designed especially for businesses affected by Hurricane Irene. For many, this program is a welcome, but relatively unsurprising response from Gov. Malloy who has rightfully kept Connecticut business’s a major part of his political agenda, even when he was campaigning last Fall.
On August 29th, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith, together with Governor Malloy formally announced the program and its provisions which include:
- Loans of up to $200,000 to compensate for storm-related damage, including property, machinery, and equipment, and working capital;
- Loan guarantees of up to $200,000 will be provided to banks and other lenders to spur local lending to businesses impacted by the storm;
- Grants will be available to businesses for assistance in disaster recovery, such as temporary help and training, and
- Technical assistance, linking businesses to a wide array of state and federal resources.
Eligibility: Any CT business that endured damage as a result of Hurricane Irene is encouraged to access more information and apply through the DECD website here, or by calling (860) 270-8215. Available assistance includes bridge financing and loans covering uninsured losses, through DECD. Agricultural businesses are also eligible for funding.
Announced within days of Hurricane Irene’s visit to Connecticut, the program was formulated and announced. This quick response is a great example of how determined Connecticut is to maintain a healthy business environment. Though Hurricane Irene made a significant impact on the state of Connecticut, it appears that business leaders and government leaders are poised to work together in an effort to swiftly recover. We’re excited to see where this ambition can lead to, and how the business atmosphere can improve in the future.
Over to You: How important is it to fund businesses affected by Irene? Also, how else should the Governor and/or the DECD go about helping CT recover? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.