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April 04 2013

HOPE Coalition America, Disaster Economic Recovery Arm of Operation HOPE, Receives $400,000 Grant Award from U.S. EDA


Monies to help provide financial disaster recovery assistance for small businesses in Alabama Counties
ATLANTA, GA — April 4, 2013 – Financial dignity leader Operation HOPE (HOPE) today announced that it has received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) to establish a Birmingham Small Business Disaster Recovery Office, which will provide critical technical assistance to area businesses that were impacted by disasters and economic conditions. The funding will help HOPE Coalition America, (HCA) the nonprofit’s financial and economic disaster recovery division hire and train local employees who will provide valuable information, guidance, and services to small businesses.
“We appreciate EDA and it recognizing of the value of financial guidance post disaster,” said Fred Smith, president of HCA, “Through our partnership with the EDA, HOPE will be able to provide critical capacity building assistance to disaster impacted communities, as we deliver services to area small businesses.”
According to estimates made by the University of Alabama, Tornados and storms reduced Alabama's GDP by as much as $1.3 billion and resulted in the loss of between 5,600 and 13,200 jobs statewide. Over a two-year period, the Alabama Small Business Disaster Recovery Program is expected to assist to more than 1,000 business owners in the six-county area surrounding Birmingham. Services offered will include identifying new opportunities and completing business plans, establishing accounting systems and appropriate banking relationships, completing and submitting applications for working capital and equipment loan and planning for future disasters and economic declines.

The project is part of a $200 million appropriation made by Congress to EDA to help communities that received a major disaster designation in fiscal year 2011 with long-term economic recovery and infrastructure support.
Within the context of the administration's National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) (PDF), EDA serves as the Coordinating Agency on behalf of the Department of Commerce for the Economic Recovery Support Function (RSF) to coordinate the activities of a diverse group of partner agencies supporting recovery in disaster-impacted communities. The activities consist primarily of improved information sharing and the leveraging of existing resources to make a positive impact for communities affected by disasters.
HCA is a collaborative effort that allows knowledgeable, responsible individuals employed in the regulated financial services industry to provide one-on-one assistance to individuals and families recovering from disasters. Since its formation in 2001, the result of a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security, HCA has helped over 300,000 individuals and small business recovering from 33 disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Florida Hurricanes, tornados and flooding in southern and mid-western states and Hurricane Sandy.
HOPE is in the process of opening an office in Birmingham to provide a central location for those small businesses affected.   Owners in damaged areas should contact the toll-free hotline at 888-388-HOPE (4673) for information and assistance.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.
Operation HOPE, Inc. (HOPE)
Operation HOPE is a global nonprofit social investment banking and financial dignity empowerment organization. Through several global initiatives and three principal financial literacy programs: Banking on Our Future (teaching school children about money), HOPE Coalition America (financial emergency preparedness and disaster financial recovery), and the HOPE Financial Dignity Centers (loans, bill pay, computer literacy, understanding banking principles), HOPE is leading the “silver rights” movement towards making free enterprise and capitalism relevant to all underserved communities.