Flood Recovery - April 5, 2024

Kristin Warner (Public Policy Manager, VBSR) spoke to the Senate Economic Development on the creation of a new flood relief program called FRAP (Flood Relief Assistance Program). This program was originally in H.723, but was not taken up by any committee.  An amendment containing the language creating FRAP was proposed on the House floor but was defeated. VBSR is asking the Committee to take testimony on this bill. 

Warner explained, as we have covered in past newsletters, that right after the flood there was funding made available by the Legislature but it was on a first come first serve basis. But many businesses were not ready nor did they understand the depth and scope of their personal financial situation. They understand now and it is hoped that FRAP can help them. The flood hit right in the middle of their high revenue season where they take in enough funds to get them through the ‘slow season’.  Many of these businesses may not make it. 

Warner noted that we need to do everything possible to ensure businesses survive. The funding requested as part of H723d was $40M. After the flood many businesses owned by immigrants did not understand the process and the services available to them. Now that things have calmed down and business owners understand what their challenges are, FRAP will provide the time and support and hopefully funding to support these businesses. 

Two business owners, Sharon Pride from MaxBrazy and Jen Roberts from Onion River Outdoors told their individual stories of inventory lost, their struggles to reopen and what challenges still lie ahead. The Committee Chair asked the Committee if they wanted to take this request on and to hear testimony on the need for FRAP, cautioning that if supported the Committees priorities would need to be reviewed. The Committee agreed they wanted to hear more about FRAP

H.723 requires:

  • The Agency of Commerce and Community Development to establish the Flood Recovery Assistance Program (FRAP) to provide financial assistance to nonprofit and for-profit businesses in the State that suffered losses due to the 2023 floods.
  • Assistance under the program shall be available for all of the following when related to losses due to the 2023 flooding:
    1. physical or structural damages from flooding
    2. lost revenue of businesses
    3. lost wages of employees of businesses
    4. lost inventory and new supplies
    5. damaged equipment; and
    6. other administrative or operating expenses.
  • The Agency shall develop criteria for awards under this section including priority eligibility for businesses owned by persons of color and indigenous peoples and businesses owned by new Americans. U.S. citizenship shall not be a requirement for eligibility under the program.
  • In addition to other funds appropriated to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development in fiscal year 2025, $40M from the General Fund is appropriated to the Agency for grant awards under this section.
  • The program would replace the Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program.


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