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Recovery Solutions for Food Business Hit By Hurricane Sandy
November 6, 2012
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Put Your Business Back Together After Hurricane Sandy

After Super-storm Sandy, NYC businesses need to start rebuilding. No small business, no work. 60% of the businesses in NYC have 5 employees or less. 98% have 100 employees or less. Getting small business going will get the City back to work and eating well again.

Slow Money NYC gathered information for Small Business to help rebuild after Hurricane Sandy using government and private tools to obtain capital, reimbursement and donations. There’s also some information at the end for consumers who wish to support the recovery of local food and farm business.

HURRICANE SANDY BUSINESS RECOVERY PROGRAMS IN NYC
New York City, including the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), is coordinating a set of “Back to Business” services to assist small businesses in recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

HURRICANE RELIEF CENTERS
The Mayor’s Office and Human Resources Administration have set up several full-service sites with information about applying for emergency social and economic assistance after Hurricane Sandy. In Brooklyn, the site is located at MCU Park parking lot at 1904 Surf Avenue in Coney Island on weekdays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is available to help apply for loans. For locations as added and sites in other boroughs, click here.

The US Small Business Administration has opened a Business Recovery Center in Brooklyn to provide help to business owners seeking disaster assistance. Assistance is available at the NYC Business Solution Brooklyn Center at 9 Bond Street, 5th floor on weekdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, click here.

LOW COST LOANS
* For Small to Mid-sized business, capped at $25,000, contact an NYC Business Solutions Account Manager or call 311 and ask for NYC Business Emergency Loan
* For mid- to large-sized business that seek $500,000 or more to rebuild, contact Shin Mitsugi at smitsugi@nycedc.com for further information on this program.
*ACCIÓN SANDY RELIEF BUSINESS LOAN – $1,000 to $25,000 loans for NYC business impacted by Sandy.  For the first 3 months – no payments and 0% interest. After three months, loan locks in at a very low 4.99% rate.  Apply before December 31, 2012. Fast turnaround-10 day average from application to closing.  For additional information call (866) 245-0783.

FREE SPACE
* For any business temporarily displaced, Short-term “swing” office space at Brooklyn Army Terminal available free of charge for the next 30 days. NYCEDC has approximately 40,000 square feet of warehouse space at the Terminal that can be used for this purpose. Contact Doug Roberts at (212) 312-3876 or droberts@nycedc.com.
* Temporary space is also available at the Sunshine Bronx business incubator on a walk-in basis at 890 Garrison Avenue in Hunts Point.
* The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce can provide you with temporary work space at their offices at 25 Elm Place in Brooklyn through the end of the year. Please contact Veronica Harris at vharris@brooklynchamber.com or by calling 1-718-875-1000, ext. 127, for more information.

OTHER EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE
* For all other emergency assistance, contact the SBS Business Outreach Team and Emergency Response Unit’s Large Scale Response Team will be deployed after the storm to help all impacted small businesses.

COMMUNITY CAPITAL NY FAST TRACKS LOANS FOR BUSINESS
For businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy, Community Capital New York will fast track loans up to $50,000 at reasonable interest rates (7.75%). Interested business owners should contact Small Business Lending Manager, Simone Obermaier 914.747.8020 ext. 10. Help available in Spanish and English.

FEDERAL AID PROGRAMS FOR DISASTER RECOVERY
DISASTER LOANS FROM SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
SBA provides low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery & equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster.

CHECK YOUR BUSINESS INSURANCE POLICY
Business interruption insurance usually only applies if there is physical damage to your business.  Take pictures of any damages sustained as soon as possible. So, if your business suffered losses due to power outage but was NOT flooded, then you may have trouble making a claim.  Business damaged by flood may make a claim using National Flood Insurance. Almost 40% of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster because just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. From 2007 to 2011, the average commercial flood claim was over $75,000. Flood insurance is the best way to protect yourself from devastating financial loss.

CONED PAYS FOR FOOD LOSSES ARISING FROM POWER OUTAGE
If you have incurred spoilage losses during a power outage, you may file a claim with Con Edison within 30 days of the date of the power outage.  Residential customers may claim up to $450 for spoiled food and another $450 for spoiled medication.  Residential Claim Form.  Property damage is not covered. Commercial Customers may claim up to $9,000 for actual losses of perishable merchandise spoiled due to lack of refrigeration. Commercial Claim Form.

DONATIONS AVAILABLE TO ASSIST BUSINESS
Check out NYC’s Donations to Assist Business Online listing donations for impacted business in need of space, supplies or other services following Hurricane Sandy.

IF YOU (OR YOUR WORKERS) ARE UNABLE TO WORK AS A RESULT OF HURRICANE SANDY

  • Disaster Unemployment Assistance Due to the Effects of Hurricane Sandy
  • Farmers and the Self-Employed Directly Affected by Hurricane Sandy
  • Extension of claims for those already receiving unemployment insurance. These people need to call 1-888-209-8124 and speak to an agent to receive benefits for the prior week.

FEDERAL TAX RELIEF AVAILABLE
Following recent disaster declarations for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the IRS has said that affected taxpayers in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York will receive tax relief. The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting in late October. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until February 1, 2013 to file these returns and pay any taxes due. This includes the fourth quarter individual estimated tax payment, normally due January 15, 2013. It also includes payroll and excise tax returns and accompanying payments for the third and fourth quarters, normally due on October 31, 2012 and January 31, 2013 respectively.

Tax relief also applies to tax-exempt organizations required to file Form 990 series returns with an original or extended deadline falling during this period. The IRS will abate any interest, late-payment or late-filing penalty that would otherwise apply. The IRS automatically provides this relief to any taxpayer located in the disaster area. Taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief.

Beyond the relief provided by law to taxpayers in the FEMA-designated counties, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who resides outside the disaster area but whose books, records or tax professional are located within the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. All workers assisting the relief activities in the covered disaster areas who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization are eligible for relief.

Taxpayers who live outside of the impacted area and think they may qualify for this relief need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227. In addition, the IRS is waiving failure-to-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after the disaster area start date and before November 26, if the deposits are made by November 26, 2012. Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on www.IRS.gov. So far, IRS filing and payment relief applies to the following localities: In New York (starting October 27): Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester.

YOUR COMPANY CAN HELP OTHERS!
If your company is able provide resources such as space, supplies, services, or other forms of assistance to New York City businesses that have been significantly impacted by Hurricane Sandy, please fill out this form. This information will be shared on our Donations to Assist Businesses page so those in need can contact you directly.

Additionally, businesses and individuals should donate to Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to support relief efforts. One hundred percent of donations are being dispersed to relief efforts and organizations.

FARM CREDIT EAST CARES – ACCEPTS DONATIONS TO HELP FARMS
Farm Credit East Cares program will begin accepting donations to assist farm-related efforts for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.Funds will be provided to organizations working directly with impacted farms in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, as well as organizations supported by the farm community that are helping devastated non-farm communities and individuals. Make contributions by check to Central New York Community Foundation, 431 East Fayette Street, Suite 100, Syracuse, N.Y. 13202, or visit their website to make a contribution by credit card.

SMALLKNOT.COM FREE CROWD-FUND CAMPAIGN OFFER

Like Slow Money, Smallknot’s community crowdfunding platform is dedicated to helping local food businesses grow. That’s why Smallknot is waiving all fees and offering free fundraising campaigns to all affected NYC area businesses. To be eligible, a business must: 1) be in a storm-affected area and 2) use funds raised to undertake repairs or maintenance related to storm-related damage. Submit to rebuild@smallknot.com by November 15, 2012.

CREDIBLES.ORG – FREE STORE CREDITS CAMPAIGN
Credibles, is Slow Money’s service where food business can get prepaid by their customers.  Credibles are worth $1 at your business when customers redeem them.  With Credibles, business “repay” customers with the goods and services you sell, not with cash. Customers can then eat their balance of Credibles (edible credits) down over time. The transactions are done on smartphones apps or tablets.  Business and customers can easily keep track of them. This intro video explains it better than words.  Here is an example for how a business is set up on Credibles.

Credibles has created a simplified process for Sandy-affected business to get ready. (They’re also waiving our usual service fee for November). To get your Credibles Campaign live, we need your information – via this page: https://slowmoney.clearbon.net/newoffer/  
CEO Arno Hesse is happy to answer questions, by email arno@clearbon.com or phone (415) 935-1050

HOW YOU HELP REBUILD LOCAL BUSINESS?

EAT OUT

Jimmy’s No. 43 does a lot for the community and local farmers, so now it’s our time to give back by patronizing their restaurant when it opens or buying tickets to upcoming events, including Meat Week NYC.

Heritage Foods, which sells sustainably-raised meat from 40 Midwest and New York-based farms, is asking people to help out the restaurants, retail shops and farms that serve and produce their products, many of which have lost thousands of dollars in waste from spoiled food and lost business. You can help these restaurants by making reservation or purchasing gift cards. To help their farmers, visit their online store and place an order.

FARM AID

Added Value, a Red Hook community farm and youth empowerment program, has been submerged in sea water, ruining its harvest, topsoil, beehives and office. There is also possible soil contamination. You can help by donating or volunteeringFollow their updates on Facebook. According to Slow Money NYC, Added Value is looking for replacements for technologies ruined in the flood, including 2 laptop computers (used are okay), 5 iPads and 5 Android smartphones.

Brooklyn Grange lost their apiary and over one million honey bees, which had been located at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in the storm. Last spring, the Grange raised $22,000 through Kickstarter to build the city’s largest apiary. You can help them rebuild their apiary by donating here.

DONATE & FEED OTHERS

Greenmarket‘s across NYC are accepting donations of fresh produce, batteries, flashlights, and cleaning supplies to help New Yorkers recover from the storm. Donations will be delivered to City Harvest and community organizations in Red Hook, Rockaways, and Staten Island that are serving hot meals to neighborhood residents. Drop-off is on Saturday, November 3rd 8am – 1pm. Learn more here.

Red Hook Initiative needs volunteers to help sort through donations, deliver meals to the home bound, provide kitchen back up and help with clean up. Learn more here or report to 767 Hicks at West 9th starting at 10 am.

Occupy Sandy needs volunteers to distribute resources and supply donations, like blankets, candles, flashlights, batteries, water, food, socks, towels, printer paper, baby items and more. Learn more here.

Meat Hook is collecting donations for Rockaway residents, including canned goods, nonperishable food, blankets, jackets, gloves, hats, socks, plates, cups, bowls, utensils, cleaning supplies, brooms, mops, sponges, garbage bags, water and tarps. Learn more here.

Neighbors Together, an organization committed to ending hunger and poverty in the Ocean Hill, Brownsville, and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods of Brooklyn, is looking for donation to repair the damage to their industrial freezer and refrigerator and recover from food loss at their soup kitchen. Donate here.

Masbia soup kitchen network is need of donations to help feeding 600+ relocated seniors at the Park Slope Armory. For only $6 they can serve one person a freshly cooked nutritious hot dinner.

Citymeals-on-Wheels has been working to ensure New York’s homebound elderly have access to food. They are in need of volunteers for meal deliveries throughout the week. They are also looking for donations to help replenish their supplies.

City Harvest is asking those interested in volunteering to contact volunteerservices@cityharvest.org, or donate to help feed children, the elderly, and all hungry New Yorkers.

Food Bank For New York City is looking for financial donationsvolunteers, and food donations.