The 68-year-old, a plumber and proprietor of the native Wayne Jude Encalarde plumbing and public works enterprise, says the lethal storm ruined extra than simply his car and tools. It disrupted enterprise operations for years, inflicting him to lose most of his prospects.
“My enterprise was simply now beginning to see a revenue,” Encalarde informed CNN Enterprise. “I used to be simply getting issues collectively.”
These with insurance coverage might have to attend weeks and even months earlier than they obtain funds for claims, based on Kelisha Garrett, govt director of the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Basis, a gaggle working to advance financial development for the state’s minority enterprise group.
Encalarde says he and his eight workers have been supposed to start a sequence of public works tasks for metropolis authorities subsequent week, however the hurricane has put the destiny of these jobs, and their livelihoods, in severe jeopardy.
“There’s numerous stuff that has to occur for me to return to work subsequent week and I do not know if that is going to occur,” Encalarde mentioned. “My subsequent 4 jobs must undergo metropolis corridor, so it relies upon how briskly metropolis corridor will get again to work.”
Ida arrives on the heels of Covid
Garrett says many of the enterprise homeowners she serves have been nonetheless contending with the fallout from Covid-19 and the Delta variant disrupting their operations when Ida arrived.
“Many have been operating their companies and dealing from dwelling through the pandemic, however have been among the many tens of millions of metropolis residents who misplaced energy, leaving them unable to earn cash,” Garrett informed CNN Enterprise final week. “You’ve now taken the little that we had that we have been working with and also you, Mom Nature, have pulled that from underneath us.”
Very similar to after Katrina and the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Garrett mentioned town’s minority enterprise group is being compelled to show to the federal government for options to maintain their corporations alive. She and different enterprise leaders say making federal funds accessible within the brief time period and together with small native corporations within the metropolis’s infrastructure rebuild tasks are key to serving to New Orleans’ financial system rebound from each Ida and the pandemic.
“We wish to work. We have now individuals to work,” says Tina Balthazar, proprietor of Balthazar Electriks in New Orleans. ” I simply want the tasks and entry to capital to get there.”
The 58-year-old Louisiana native mentioned it took her and her late sister two to a few years to get their electrical provide and wholesale distribution enterprise again up and operating after Katrina. She evacuated town forward of Ida greater than per week in the past and spent final week making an attempt to get her enterprise again up and operating from a second dwelling in Mercerville, New Jersey.
Balthazar says she’s unsure how she will be able to keep payroll for the foreseeable future with out some kind of authorities support now that her firm is not bringing in any income.
“I haven’t got a clean test to write down to my enterprise to maintain it afloat,” she mentioned. “I need everyone, authorities and enterprise homeowners to appreciate we’re right here. We are able to contribute very positively to the restoration effort and the general financial system, however we want an opportunity.”
Assist for small companies
Contreras mentioned most companies that apply are eligible to obtain as much as $2 million in low-interest mortgage funds for any mixture of bodily harm or working capital disruption. As of Sunday, he mentioned the SBA has authorised 125 catastrophe loans for greater than $4.5 million for Ida-related aid.
“Some companies might wish to take the time to resolve if they need the mortgage or not,” Contreras informed CNN Enterprise on Sunday. “We have been encouraging them to take the funds in the event that they qualify. Do not wait till after you hear again out of your insurance coverage firm that perhaps your declare will not be as excessive as you need it to be. Should you want the funds, they’re accessible.”
“The Biden administration has been very ahead leaning on enhancing fairness throughout the restoration packages,” Contreras mentioned. “From the start of the administration’s first days right here, we began hearinga about how equitable restoration goes to be a precedence. There’s progress being made on that.”