Thursday, September 25, 2008

After the Storm

Last week, Jeremy blogged about IAAPA members affected by the recent hurricane in the United States' Gulf region. Now that members are returning to their businesses and beginning to assess the damage, I thought I would offer a short list of government resources available to aid in the recovery process:
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration offers both Physical Disaster Loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The former is a source of funding for rebuilding privately-owned real or personal property. These loans are available to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and nonprofit organizations. The latter type of loan is for small businesses only and provides necessary working capital until normal operations resume. Information can be found on the SBA Disaster Assistance web site.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can provide homeowners with temporary housing and money for repair or replacement following a disaster. It also can provide money for medical and dental costs, funeral and burial costs, clothing, clean-up items, and other necessary expenses. To apply for assistance, visit the FEMA web site.
  • FEMA also maintains a list of other agencies that provide specialized assistance like the USDA (this may be helpful for zoo and aquarium members) or the IRS (if you have special tax considerations as a result of the disaster). Legal aid, crisis counseling, and insurance information is also coordinated through FEMA. The list is organized by state.
Finally, Jeremy did hear from one more member in the affected area. Jeffrey Seibert, director of corporate communications and sales for Schlitterbahn Waterparks, e-mailed to say Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark remains closed as park officials assess the damage caused by Ike. A reopen date has not been set, but keep watch here for more info.

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