DISASTER RESPONSE

The Baton Rouge Area has experienced unprecedented flooding, and is now in the process of recovery. BRAC maintains a disaster preparation and response partnership with all regional economic development organizations and chambers of commerce in Louisiana, as well as state agencies.

BRAC Analysis

Updated: BRAC Releases Preliminary Analysis of Potential Magnitude of Flood's Impact on the Baton Rouge Region »
Data represents people and property placed at risk by virtue of their location within flooded areas

Assistance and Recovery Resources

Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund
The Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund provides triage grants to affected small businesses. The application period closed at midnight on Friday, September 16. Donations are encouraged at labizrebirth.org. One hundred percent of donations is awarded directly to small businesses. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Program
Loan programs are available for both economic injury, as well as repairs for physical damage. For more information on the disaster loan program, click here or call 800-659-2955. The application can be accessed here. Click here for an SBA disaster loans fact sheet. The deadline to apply for a housing or business repair loan through the SBA is October 13, 2016. The business loans are available at 4 percent interest rates and up to a max of $2 million for repairs and/or working capital. Once a business applies, SBA says that applications are typically reviewed in 21 days or less. If approved, the business is then given 60 days to decide on whether to accept the loan. The loans for cash flow or working capital, called Economic Injury loans, also have 4 percent interest rates, and may be applied for until May 15, 2017.

Business Recovery Centers
The U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Economic Development and Louisiana Small Business Development Centers are working on establishing business recovery centers around the region. These centers will offer affected businesses specialized help and guidance for economic recovery. More center information will be added as available.

ASCENSION PARISH
Bancorp South Bank
13423 Highway 73
Prairieville, LA 70769
Mondays – Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH
Louisiana State Archives
(Corner of I-12 and Essen Lane)
3851 Essen Lane Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Mondays - Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Baker Workforce Development Center
3262 Baker Blvd. Baker, LA 70714
Mondays – Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

LIVINGSTON PARISH
Southeastern Louisiana University
Clausen Family Building Literacy and Technology Center – Room 119
9261 Florida Blvd. Walker, LA 70785
Mondays – Fridays, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Arts Council of Livingston Parish
133 N. Hummell St.
Denham Springs, LA 70726
Mondays - Saturdays, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sundays, 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. 

Transportation
The DOTD announced a transitional transit service for flood-affected communities. The bus service will run from downtown Baton Rouge to Gonzales, Walker, Denham Springs, Central, and Geismar. Click here for more information.

Carpooling Website
GeauxRide.com -- a carpooling website -- helps connect those who lost vehicles with rides. To use the service, register online. You'll need a valid email address; select "Louisiana Public" as a work site; select a public portal; create a commute profile; and find ride share matches. Geaux Ride was created by the Capital Region Planning Commission.

Business Counseling
The Louisiana Business & Technology Center at the LSU Innovation Park is offering business counseling to flood-impacted companies and is assisting companies with filling out applications and connecting with the proper agencies during their time of need. Call 225-578-7555 for more information.

The Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southern University is open and available for business counseling by appointment only. They are located at J S Clark Administration Building, Room 326, G. Leon Netterville Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70813.

The Louisiana Small Business Development Center offers consulting services at no cost to help:

  • Assess the viability of a business
  • Analyze market and location conditions
  • Estimate the financial impact of losses
  • Evaluate business plan operations
  • Re-evaluate business plans
  • Prepare for SBA disaster loan assistance

Call 866-782-4159 for more information. Sign up for Ready Alerts to stay up-to-date on the latest business recovery assistance from the SBDC; text READY to 318-769-9921.

Available Commercial and Warehouse Space
BRAC is maintaining a list of available work spaces for lease— both temporary and longer term—for displaced organizations. Click here to view the latest listing of available large and small commercial space, both office and warehouse. If you have space available, or are in need of space, please contact BRAC’s Policy and Research Project Manager Logan Anderson at logan@brac.org.

Housing Assistance
For a listing of available apartments that did not flood, please visit www.lahousingsearch.org to both find and list available properties. You can also view listings at www.MLSbox.com.

  • Manufactured Housing Units – Depending on eligibility, delivers a manufactured housing unit on private property, and is available to both homeowners and renters. Apply through FEMA at disasterassistance.gov or 800-621-FEMA or in person at a center.
  • Multi-Family Lease and Repair Program – If eligible, FEMA will fund the repair of multi-family apartment units that are able to be repaired quickly and put back into commerce as temporary housing for FEMA applicants.  The program targets existing rental properties with five units or more that are able to be repaired in two months or less. Owners of multi-family housing can apply or learn more by contacting FEMA at 225-382-1464 or send an email to fema-ia-dhops@fema.dhs.gov.
  • Shelter At Home – If eligible, available to homeowners for whom $15,000 of repairs or less would allow them to live in their damaged homes while more permanent repairs are made. The program application is available online or by calling 1-800-927-0216, and is separate from SBA and FEMA.

Additionally, Airbnb has created an urgent accommodations site for residential housing. In some instances, people are offering donated space and Airbnb is waiving service fees. Search for availability here.

FEMA Aid
BRAC encourages impacted area residents to register with FEMA. To apply for FEMA Aid, visit www.disasterassistance.gov or call 800-621-3362. To expedite the process, have your social security number, address of damaged property, description of damage, insurance coverage information, telephone number, mailing address, and bank and routing numbers available.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Recovery Guide
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce produces a quick guide to help businesses affected by disaster. It offers a wealth of information about recovery and resources for federal financial assistance, mental health, insurance help and employee assistance.

Employer Gifts to Affected Employees
The Louisiana Department of Revenue offered that for the purpose of disaster recovery, certain types of contributions made by employers to employees are considered tax-exempt:

  • Cash donations – Generally, an employer may grant funds to employees that are excluded from the employee’s income. Because the payments are excluded from the employee’s income, the employer should not withhold federal and state income taxes, social security taxes, or Medicare taxes. (Internal Revenue Code Section 139)
  • Non-cash donations – An employee may donate accrued leave hours to another employee. The employee donating the leave time is exempt from gift tax provided the donated leave is valued at less than $14,000. The employee receiving the leave time does not recognize income on the receipt of the donated leave. However, as the employee uses the leave, the employer must withhold applicable federal and state taxes regardless of the existence of a disaster situation.

Charitable Funds for Employees
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation is establishing charitable funds for companies interested in making grants to help impacted employees. For more information or to open a fund, please click here.

Business Contracting During Recovery
If you are a Louisiana business looking to do business with a governmental agency, there are resources to help. Business owners can register with the Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center and be notified of contracting opportunities during this disaster event. A business may also contact the Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Hardship Distributions from Retirement Plans
401(k)s and similar employer-sponsored retirement plans can make loans and hardship distributions to Louisiana flood victims and their families, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Early withdrawal can lead to penalties and tax consequences. Details are available online.

Additional Resources

Opportunities to Support Affected Area Schools

Our area schools have been severely impacted by the flooding. A number of opportunities exist to donate funds to school districts, individual schools and education support organizations. Click here for a list of funds seeking assistance.

The information provided on this page is not intended to substitute for professional legal or accounting/tax advice.