Governor announces first round of BEGAP grants issued to support business reopening

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Department of Economic Development (DED) in Berlin today announced 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.

Scott said that the hardest hit communities have been in Barre, Hardwick, Johnson, Ludlow, Montpelier and Waterbury.

The governor also announced that the two "Vermont Strong" license plates will be ready to order by Monday and will include an incentive from Darn Tough Socks.

Scott said the state is still in need of a congressional, supplemental spending support in order to fully recover from the July floods, and even from the recent August ones. He said the Vermont delegation is working on such funding. He acknowledged that supplemental support is needed in many areas of the nation, such as for the fires that devastated Hawaii and the fires and flooding out West, though he didn't know if those events would impact how much money Vermont could get from the federal government.

In addition to the BEGAP and license plate announcements, General William Roy, FEMA Coordinating Officer, announced that they will be sending Direct Housing units to Vermont to supplement housing assistance for flood victims. 

The Direct Housing units will be available only in Washington, Lamoille and Windsor counties.

FEMA already is providing housing assistance in the form of cash payments to cover temporary housing at hotels and other establishments. The mobile units targeted to the three counties are intended to provide shelter in locations where other temporary accommodations are not available.

The mobile units will have to meet certain requirements, such as permitting, electric and septic service. Roy said the units are arriving within the week and anticipates that they will be available for occupancy by the end of September. The number of units will depend on need, Roy said. 

Both the rental assistance and Direct Housing are available for 18 months. FEMA has been in contact with 200 individuals to date who need housing of some sort.

Roy said the units are fully weatherized for a Vermont winter.

In addition, Governor Scott is urging Vermonters to join the Recovery Clean Up Day this Saturday. More information is available at the Green Up Vermont website. Scott said that if you can't make it to one of the hard-hit regions of the state, then take the opportunity to cleanup around your own community. The familiar green bags are available at Agency of Transportation garages.

Click HERE to watch the entire press conference.


“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 Governor 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 August 3. Among the completed and successfully submitted applications (351):

  • 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.

Funding now available to support Vermont farmers impacted by storms and flooding

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 including the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, the Vermont Agency of Administration, the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, the Vermont Department of Taxes, and the Vermont Agency of Digital Services. 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 Governor 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.”

Vermont Strong

Courtney Laggner, Brand & Community Manager at Darn Tough Vermont, shows off the Vermont Strong Darn Tough sock design with Governor Scott and VCF CEO Dan Smith. Photos courtesy governor's Facebook page.

Governor Scott also during the press conference said the Vermont Strong license plates will be ready to order by early next week. 

There are two versions, one features an updated version of the plate that first appeared following Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and a second one includes the tag line "Tough Too!" 

Scott said the standard plate will be available for $35 and any individual or business can order as many plates as they want. The second plate will be available through the Darn Tough website and will include both the "Tough Too!" plate and a pair of limited-edition "Vermont Strong" socks made in Vermont. The plate and socks will be available for $70.

Scott said all the revenues from the license plates will go to the flood relief efforts. He said half the money will go toward the BEGAP program and the other half will go to the Vermont Community Foundation. 

VCF CEO Dan Smith said at the press conference that to date, VCF has received 6,000 gifts for its VT Flood Response & Recovery Fund 2023, raising $6.1 million. He said they have already issued $2.2 million in grants to small businesses, for housing and for general recovery efforts. Major donors to the VCF effort have included National Life Group, TD Bank Foundation Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont and Darn Tough Vermont.

Source: 8.23.2023. Governor. Berlin, Vt.