Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Department of Economic Development (DED) announced Aug. 24 that businesses and nonprofits that suffered physical damage from the July floods have been awarded $400,000 in Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program (BEGAP) grants to date. The $20 million BEGAP program is intended to support the reopening of businesses impacted by the floods.
“This first wave of payments to our impacted businesses to help them reopen and bring their employees back to work, but this is really just the start,” said Scott. “The grant team will continue to work quickly to get checks out the door to those who were impacted. We know the need is great, and though these grants won’t make any business whole again, we hope it will play a small part in helping them get back on their feet. I encourage any impacted businesses that haven’t yet applied to do so.”
To date, 505 preliminary applications have been submitted since Aug. 3. A total of 351 applications have been completed and successfully submitted. Among those:
70% are currently being reviewed or in the queue to be reviewed
30% are completed and approved for a BEGAP grant
A total of $397,136 has been paid out to date, with an average award amount of $13,694
Total damage reported within applications is $134 million, with $108 million in net damage (damage uncovered by insurance or other grants)
“We are thrilled that money is starting to go out the door to those in need and I am grateful for the team we have working to approve these grants as quickly as possible,” said Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle. “If you are applying for a BEGAP grant, take the time to submit a complete and thorough application to avoid delays. We know many business owners are still trying to get their documentation together. Our message to those people is that you haven’t missed the window to access these grants. There is funding still available, and a complete application will get you the financial support you need faster.”
Interested BEGAP applicants should visit the BEGAP program page and check out the FAQs.
To help business owners who are having trouble getting contractor estimates for repairs to their businesses, the Vermont Builders and Remodelers Association along with other contractor membership organizations collaborated with the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) to compile a list of general estimates for the purpose of supporting BEGAP grant applicants.
The list includes several types of repairs from installing drywall and flooring to plumbing and heating work. If necessary, the figures on this list can be used in lieu of an estimate from an actual contractor.
To aid in ensuring grant applications are reviewed, approved, and paid as quickly as possible DED has enlisted the help of more than a dozen state employees from other agencies. These extra employees are helping in processing applications, awarding grants, and distributing funds.
“As we have learned from prior disasters, including the Covid-19 pandemic, government works better when it works together,” said Scott. “I’m grateful for this cross-agency collaboration and that my team is willing to do what it takes, including lending employees for emergency programs, to get support to Vermonters as quickly as we can.”