Thursday, June 15, 2006

Chamber Lagniappe


The following are excerpts from the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce weekly newsletter. I'm hoping the volunteer agencies who follow this blog will give the information to Hancock Citizens - the information needs to get out! Thanks!


6/14 www.hurricanefriends.com offers registration and matching of people willing to share their homes and facilities (hosts) with those needing shelter (guests) to ensure a smooth evacuation when the time comes. One can register as both and the role you play will depend on how the storm is tracking. It is important to register early, especially for families with children, pets, and people with special needs.

KATRINA HOMEOWNER GRANTS.
In the wake of Katrina, most homes outside the flood zone were not covered by flood insurance—leaving otherwise insured homeowners with little more than mortgages and memories. But now, the Mississippi development Authority (MDA) is offering Katrina Homeowner Grants to make sure these neighborhoods are rebuilt stronger and safer.

THE GUIDEBOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE at www.MSHomeHelp.gov

Appointments are absolutely necessary and can be made beginning April 10. Applications will be accepted beginning April 17. MDA wants to make this process as quick and simple as possible. So please begin gathering information, including deeds, mortgages and insurance policies. Guidebooks will soon be available at locals banks, FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers, and online.

More information can be found at www.MSHomeHelp.gov.

Business Information:
You can find a more complete listing of businesses that have reopened in each town's blog.

7/7 Please go to www.hancockchamber.org and look at your business’ listing. We need to make sure that we have your information correct. As part of your membership, your business will be listed as a member in the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce ad in the yellow pages of the 2006 Sunshine Pages telephone directory. Email any changes to lynne@hancockchamber.org.

Is your business registered with the Mississippi Procurement Technical Assistance Network? If not, you could be missing out on opportunities for contracts with federal, state and local governments. When you enroll in this network, it will build an electronic picture of your business’s capabilities and then match and notify your business daily—via the internet, email or fax—of government contracting opportunities. All of this is done at no charge to Mississippi businesses as a service of the Mississippi Development Authority. To register your business online, go to www.mscpc.com/client.html.

Applications are now being accepted for Leadership Hancock County 2006/2007 class.
Leadership Hancock County is a program that was introduced by the Hancock Chamber in 1996 to identify and prepare the community’s existing and future leadership resources. The program is now as an annual program of the Hancock Chamber. Participants must be residents of Hancock County or employed in Hancock County. To be considered for selection in the program, you must submit an application to the Hancock Chamber prior to the August 1st deadline. Application forms can be obtained through the Chamber Office currently located at the Coast Electric Conference Center in Bay St. Louis or on line at www.hancockchamber.org. Eight day-long sessions run from September through May with the final graduation banquet in June.

Business Assistance Center added 9/6
Like many inventions, the idea for the Business Assistance Center (BAC) was born out of necessity. Because nearly 800 of the 1,400 businesses in Hancock County were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005, Chamber Director Tish Williams was resolute in her determination to have a place where business owners could come for help. The losses were not only physical; they were emotional as well. To make matters worse, communication was practically non-existent. There was no Internet. Cell phone towers were down. Telephone lines were down. Even the U.S. Postal Service was severely disrupted.
Opening its doors just three weeks after the storm, the Business Assistance Center—located in the Coast Electric Power Association’s Conference Center—was a place where business owners could receive help filling out paperwork for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration. Computers with wireless Internet access were made available to everyone, as was a fax machine and copier. Current information regarding emergency operations was posted daily. Most importantly, the Business Assistance Center provided what was desperately needed: camaraderie and support.
Since then, the BAC has grown to include other support groups: the Small Business Development Center from University of Mississippi, the Arts—Hancock County, Citizens in Action, and the WIN Job Center. It continually hosts groups of volunteers who come to Mississippi to offer their help in our recovery. In essence, it encourages the social, civic, and economic well-being of Hancock County.

The federal Gulf Coast Opportunity Zone legislation (GO Zone) -- aimed at helping Mississippi recover from Hurricane Katrina -- offers some real development incentives in 49 counties. But the window of opportunity is limited -- so time is of the essence to take advantage of this program.
Click the link below for more information on GO Zone incentives: http://www.msmec.com/mechw/hw.dll?page&file=mar20interest

8.19 Gulf Coast News Article http://www.gulfcoastnews.com/GCNnewsKatrinaRebuildingHancockBiz.htm


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