Flood Relief Resources for Businesses
January 23, 2023 Update:
Businesses impacted by the November 2021 floods can now apply for grant funds.
The Northwest Washington Disaster Grant program will distribute up to $10 million, funded through the Washington State Department of Commerce. The grants are for businesses affected by the floods in Whatcom, Skagit, and Clallum counties in the Lummi Nation, Nooksack Indian Tribe, and Quileute Tribe.
Grant funds can be used for payroll, rent, utilities, marketing, advertising, building improvement or repairs, replacing damaged inventory and equipment, and other operational and business expenses. Award amounts will vary based on multiple factors including the degree of damage. Applicants must attest that grant funds will not be used to pay for costs already covered by a different government program or privately funded grant or loan.
Documents that you’ll need to upload for the grant application:
- Proof of valid UBI (A copy of your current Business License)
- Federal Tax ID number - EIN/TIN/SSN (You’ll need to submit a W-9. Click here to be taken to a blank W-9 form)
- Proof of UEI or attestation that a UEI application is in process (Get a Unique Entity ID at SAM.gov)
- 2021 Tax return
- Proof of operation in flood affected area. Examples include a current lease; utility bill; current business bank statement; current business mortgage statement; business credit card statement; professional insurance bill; etc.
Updates from our leaders
Updated March 16th, 2022
Local Disaster Relief Efforts Bring State Funds
The Business Recovery Task Force, co-led by Port of Bellingham Economic Development Director Don Goldberg and other leaders, shared data on local business losses with Washington State Rep. Alicia Rule of Blaine, whose HB 1957 proposed a small business disaster recovery financial assistance program that has been funded!
Be Alert to Fraud After a Disaster
After a disaster, con artists and criminals may try to obtain money or steal personal information through fraud or identity theft. In some cases, thieves try to apply for FEMA assistance using names, addresses and Social Security numbers they have stolen from survivors.
If a FEMA Inspector comes to your home and you did not submit a FEMA application, your information might have been used without your knowledge to create a FEMA application. If so, please inform the inspector that you did not apply for FEMA assistance so they can submit a request to stop further processing of the application.
If you did not apply for assistance but receive a call, letter or visit from FEMA, please call the FEMA Helpline at
800-621-3362. The helpline will submit a request to stop any further processing of that application.
Inslee statement on federal disaster declaration
Gov. Jay Inslee today commended the Biden Administration, which approved Inslee’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration and agreed to provide federal assistance to help those impacted by last November’s historic floods.
Whatcom County Sheriff's Office
We have two attachments, first the Whatcom County Situation Report for December 17, 2021 and second, Governor Inslee's request to President Biden requesting him to declare a "Major Disaster for the State of Washington as a result of damages incurred by a continuous series of severe winter storms, high winds, flooding, landslides and mudslides beginning November 5 through December 2, 2021."
Inslee letter to FEMA requests swift consideration for flood aid
Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell on Friday requesting the federal agency's swift action on providing aid to Washington's flood-damaged regions once the state's damage assessment is complete, which is expected soon.
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Governor Inslee recognizes local efforts
During a press conference Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee expressed his respect for the community and the local leaders. Inslee also called out the leadership of two mayors in some of the hardest hit cities, Everson and Sumas.
Whatcom County Waives Emergency Repair Permit Fee
In response to the extraordinary needs of County residents resulting from recent flooding, the County permit fee for emergency building repairs has been waived per an executive order signed by County Executive Satpal Sidhu on November 24, 2021.
Inslee updates severe weather emergency proclamation as cleanup continues
Reported in mynorthwest.com - After major flooding last week in northern Washington counties, more financial assistance is expected to arrive from the state for those residents starting Monday.
Congresswoman DelBene: The Recovery Ahead for Communities Devastated By Western WA Floods
November 22, 2021
I am working closely with state and local officials to make sure we swiftly deliver federal assistance to our communities.
Please visit my flood resources website
Get help for flood damaged businesses
Updated April 21st, 2022
The Whatcom Community Foundation is grateful to announce the Whatcom Small Business Disaster Recovery Fund (WSBDR Fund). The Fund will provide resources to support and invest in the recovery and resilience of Whatcom County’s flood affected small businesses to preserve community character and foster economic viability.
Recovery Grants are intended to help cover essential expenses, including rent, payroll, repairs, and mitigation measures to better face future disasters. The information you share in your application will help local partners better understand the impacts of the flooding as well as better support your recovery needs going forward.
Thank you for all you and your business do to contribute to the livelihoods and character of your community.
Grant Amount: Grants up to $5,000.
For more information, visit Whatcom Community Foundation Small Business Relief Fund | LiveStories
Washington State Department of Commerce: announces legislative funding for small business. Read the full Commerce press release here: https://tinyurl.com/WA-Commerce-Info
Get ready for Working Washington 5 grants here: https://commercegrants.com/
Help us collect flood impact information, please complete our Whatcom County Business Flood Disaster Recovery Questionnaire to help us support requests for further assistance.
Aid deadlines that have passed:
SBA Physical Damage Loan Application Deadline is March 7, 2022
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) application deadline is March 9th
Business owners and managers are encouraged to call the WWU SBDC at (360) 778-1762 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment to discuss business relief options.
- Business owners and managers can sign up to be an SBDC Client Here
Assistance available now that a disaster is declared
- FEMA page for the Washington Flooding and Mudslides (Incident DR-4635-WA): Federal assistance is available to eligible individuals and families affected by this disaster. Please visit the Incident DR-4635-WA page for more information
- Whatcom County SBA Disaster Loans Fact Sheet: Loan Application Deadlines - Physical Damage: March 7, 2022 | Economic Injury: October 5, 2022
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Loans to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred
- SBA Home and Personal Property Disaster Loans: As a homeowner, renter and/or personal property owner, you may apply to the SBA for a loan to help you recover from a disaster
- Three Steps to SBA Disaster Assistance Loans: How to start a successful application
- IRS Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses: Special tax law provisions help taxpayers and businesses recover when the federal government declares their location to be a major disaster area
- USDA Farmers Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool: Learn about USDA disaster assistance programs that might be right for you by completing five simple steps
- Disaster Distress Helpline: provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters
More information will be posted as it becomes available.
Loans for Flood Recovery from Local Banks
Financing to assist the recovery, local options:
- Banner Bank: Offers interest-free flood assistance loans
- Peoples Bank: Temporarily offering programs to support businesses facing loss due to flooding in Whatcom County
- WECU: Temporarily offering two loan options to help our members impacted by flooding
- FTC Warning: How to Avoid Disaster Recovery Scams
Urgent — Please Report Flood Damage Promptly
New Flood Damage Reporting Form
Damage to businesses can be reported by calling the Damage Assessment Line
• Call 360-788-5311
Those with ANY flood-damaged property are requested to report their damages to Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Division of Emergency Management, flood response information page.
It is essential to report flood damage as part of the process to document damage countywide, in order to qualify for state and federal assistance.
Disaster Information and Assistance
- If and when disaster assistance becomes available: Business Financial Relief Application Checklist
- WWU to Offer Free Counseling to Community Members: Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, the Psychology Department will provide individual counseling
- Whatcom Strong: Information Regarding Whatcom County Flood Relief
- Congresswoman Suzan DelBene's Office: Flood Recovery Guide
- Whatcom Community Foundation: Donations
Whatcom County News and Resources:
- The Community Food Coop 2022 Farm Fund Grant program offers grants of up to $2,000 for flood recovery with an application deadline of Monday, January 17, 2022
- The County permit fee for emergency building repairs has been waived per an executive order signed by County Executive Satpal Sidhu on November 24, 2021. Visit this link to learn more: Whatcom County Waives Emergency Repair Permit Fees
- Whatcom County: Flood Response Information | Whatcom County, WA - Official Website
WA Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)
- On Nov. 22, 2021, DSHS’s Community Services Division began offering the Disaster Cash Assistance Program in response to the Severe Weather State of Emergency declaration and proclamation issued by the Governor. The original proclamation expires December 18, 2021, and has not been extended. See this stakeholder letter for more information
WA Employment Security Department
RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES
Employee Retention Tools
- Shared Work – employees are at 50% work, 50% UI. They are not required to job search but must be ready and able to go to work for their current employer.
- Standby – employees are 100% on UI but there is a return-to-work date. No job search is required but employee must be ready and able to work for current employer.
Financial Mitigation Resource
- Relief of Benefit Charges – Employers can request “relief of benefit charges due to flooding” on all UI claims related to employees receiving UI due to flood. This is not automatic, the employer requests them
Resources for employees that are separated from work
- Unemployment Insurance
- Worksource Re-employment Services
WA Department of Labor & Industries
- Worker and premises safety: Resources for Home/Business/Employers and Workers after Natural Disaster
WA Department of Revenue
- Disaster Relief for Taxpayers: Disaster relief for taxpayers | Washington Department of Revenue
- Filing Extension Request: Excise tax return extensions | Washington Department of Revenue
- Penalty Waiver: Penalty waivers | Washington Department of Revenue
The Stafford Act states, in part that: "All requests for a declaration by the President that a major disaster exists shall be made by the Governor of the affected State."
If and when a gubernatorial declaration occurs, and if that declaration rises to the Federal relief level, the US Small Business Administration (SBA), FEMA and additional Federal agencies will provide further resources.
- SBA Database of currently declared disasters: Search to see if you’re in a covered area
- IRS: Disaster Assistance & Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses
- FEMA: Home page
- FEMA: Fact sheet on flood recovery
- FEMA: National Flood Insurance Claims Handbook
- USDA: Farms & Ranching Disaster Assistance Programs