In the aftermath of the severe storm and as Vermonters unite to aid in the recovery process, here are some valuable resources for forest economy businesses and landowners.
- Business Emergency Gap Grant Program
- Business Assistance Loans
- Forestland Restoration
- Trees and Flooding
- Rebuilding Roads and Stream Crossings
The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is asking all forest economy businesses and landowners to fill out the Vermont Forest Economy Loss & Damage Survey. The survey typically takes about 5 minutes to complete. The purpose of this survey is to document the type and extent of the damage experienced by the Vermont forest products sector and forest economy. Survey data will be used to inform response efforts and advocate for future relief and recovery programs. The survey will remain open until August 28, 2023.
Damages to forestland or businesses should also be reported to Vermont 211. This is important for tracking statewide damage, both physical and economic loss, to report to FEMA to ensure that Vermonters get access to federal funding in recovery. You can make many reports online, by phone (may be easier if reporting revenue loss), and, in some locations, live at sites called Multi-Agency Resource Sites.
Vermont's Business Emergency Gap Grant Program, administered by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, is expected to begin accepting applications the week of July 31st. Additional details about the grant program and how it will work are expected to be released on Monday, July 31.
Forest economy businesses are eligible applicants for this program. The program is designed to benefit businesses and not-for-profits who suffered physical damage due to the severe flooding. Officials emphasized that this is NOT a revenue replacement program. Physical losses and damage can include physical space and/or replacements of inventory, machinery, equipment, and supplies.
Grant awards are expected to be made on a first-come, first-served basis and funds are limited, so businesses interested in applying are urged to collect photographs, insurance adjuster damage assessments, estimates for repairs to physical structures, tax returns, equipment, inventory, or supply purchases, actual paid expenses and other documents as requested.
Eligibility: A business of any size or most private nonprofit organizations located in a declared disaster area and have incurred damage during the disaster.
Resources may be used for the repair or replacement of the real property, machinery, equipment, fixtures, inventory, leasehold improvements
Economic (non-physical) Damage Assistance: Eligible small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations could receive additional support for non-physical damage. Visit disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/ or call 1-800-659-2955.
Unemployment: If you’ve lost your job due to the disaster – including because you no longer have a job or a place to work; cannot reach the place of work; cannot work due to damage to the place of work; or cannot work because of an injury caused by the disaster – you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. File online or call the Unemployment Insurance Claimant Assistance Center at 877-214-3330.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance: If you are not traditionally eligible for unemployment insurance benefits and your employment was impacted because of the disaster, you may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) https://labor.vermont.gov/dua.
If you have to prepare your staff for unemployment, here are some steps.
Employers do not need to contact the Department of Labor when laying off employees.
Advise employees to contact the Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Claims Center at 877-214-3330 (Mon-Fri from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) Additionally, if individuals are unable to reach the Department by phone, they will be able to file for unemployment insurance benefits online beginning Wednesday, July 19 at https://labor.vermont.gov.
There is no work search requirement for employees who are temporarily laid off for 10 weeks or less. Individuals filing for benefits will need to provide an estimated return to work date in order to have the work search requirement waived.
Non-industrial private forestland owners may be able to receive funds to restore disaster damaged forests through the Farm Service Agency's Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) Contact your local county Farm Service Agency
Eligible Forest Restoration Practices include:
Debris removal, such as down or damaged trees, in order to establish a new stand or provide for natural regeneration.
Restoration of forestland roads or erosion control structures.
If you are rebuilding forest roads and stream crosses, refer to the Acceptable Management Practices for Maintaining Water Quality on Logging Jobs. You can easily take it out in the field with you with the new AMP App.
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) operates its programs, services, and activities without discriminating on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, national origin (including limited English proficiency), ancestry, place of birth, disability, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or breastfeeding (mother and child).
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