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Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program to Increase Award Amounts to Flood Impacted Businesses, Nonprofits, and Landlords

September 20, 2023

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Changes to the Program Will Include Raising the Percent of Net Uncovered Damage to 30% and Removing the $20,000 Award Cap
Berlin, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Department of Economic Development Commissioner Joan Goldstein today announced forthcoming changes to the $20 million Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program (BEGAP) formula, which will increase grant awards to flood impacted businesses, nonprofits, and landlords. 
“Helping our employers reopen and stay open after they faced significant flood damage is a top priority for my Administration and an important part of the state’s recovery,” said Governor Scott. “BEGAP is part of that strategy, and that’s why we are giving those struggling organizations more resources to rebuild, reopen their doors, and help Vermonters regain employment.”
Since August, when BEGAP launched, organizations that suffered less than $1 million dollars in physical damage were eligible for grants equaling 20% of net uncovered damages (damages less insurance proceeds, donations, or other grants), with a maximum payout of $20,000. The new formula eliminates the $20,000 cap and increases payouts to 30% of net uncovered damages. The change applies to all BEGAP grantees - past, present, and future.
For organizations already paid 20%, no action is needed to get the increased award amount. They will automatically receive an additional payment to bring their award up to 30%. For organizations in the queue, they are eligible for the 30% award.
The Cambridge Market is grateful for the extra money. “The first $20,000 grant was more than helpful, but now knowing of the additional assistance, we are in a much better position to recover and fulfill our vision for this market and for the community,” said Erica Hayes, whose family bought the Cambridge Market just three weeks before the flood hit.  
A breakdown of the new formula for previous awardees, current and future applicants is:

•    0-$999,999 in net uncovered damages = 30% award
•    $1,000,000 or more in net uncovered damages = 20% with a maximum award of $500,000.
“At the Department of Economic Development, we are dedicated to helping businesses thrive and be great employers,” said Joan Goldstein, Economic Development Commissioner.  “This boost in grant awards will allow them to spend less out-of-pocket to make necessary repairs and structural changes so that they can get back to providing services and jobs to Vermonters.”
The $20 million BEGAP grant program was launched August 3.  So far, the program has seen:
•    469 successfully submitted applications
•    280 approved for a BEGAP grant
•    189 applications currently under review
•    $21,679 in average awards
•    $6,070,014 committed so far
•    $145 million total damage reported in applications
•    $116 million net damage (uncovered by insurance, grants, fundraising) reported in applications
The numbers above for the average award and amount of BEGAP funds committed so far will change with this new formula that is taking effect Thursday, because it affects previously approved projects.
It is worth noting, about 20% of all BEGAP applications received are deemed incomplete and sent back to the applicant for revision, which can delaying processing. Organizations seeking assistance should be sure to submit a thorough BEGAP application. There are Technical Assistance resources on the BEGAP web page.
The Governor will convene the Emergency Board at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday to move forward with the changes, which will begin immediately following.