The Venice Area Chamber of Commerce - partnered with so many others in the community - is here to help residents and local businesses recover. The response and leadership from state and local governments and agencies has been incredible, as has the commitment and selfless service of first responders, utilities, law enforcement, healthcare, school districts, non-profits, and so many others. WE THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SERVICE!

People and businesses in our community have varying levels of damage to deal with in the coming weeks and months, and there is measurable loss of business. Hurricane Ian was a storm unlike most of us have ever experienced, but most of our area was spared the widespread, completely destructive effects that our neighbors to the south, in particular, are now facing. The outpouring of support that people, businesses, agencies, and non-profits are offering to the most devastated areas of our region is overwhelmingly gratifying and inspiring.

We will be sharing lots of recovery information via email, our website, and social media. As needs arise, please use the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce to make connections and gather information on recovery resources. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has lent a hand to help your neighbor, contributed manpower, funds, or items to support recovery efforts.

Hurricane Ian Updates and Recovery Resources:

Disaster Loans PDF

DEO Business Damage Assessment Survey
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey in response to Hurricane Ian. Survey responses will allow the state to expedite Hurricane Ian recovery efforts by gathering data and assessing the needs of affected businesses. IT IS IMPORTANT TO SHARE YOUR INFORMATION ON DAMAGE/LOSS ASAP.

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan
The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program provides short-term, zero-interest working capital loans that are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a disaster impacts a business and when a business has secured longer term recovery funding such as federally or commercially available loans, insurance claims or other resources. 

SBA Disaster Loan Assistance
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest loans to help small businesses.

Operation Blue Roof coming to Sarasota, FEMA resources available online
Homeowners who suffered damage to their roofs from Hurricane Ian may now be eligible for Operation Blue Roof, a federal program that provides fiber-reinforced sheeting to cover roofs until arrangements can be made for permanent repairs.

  • Can you also place the “Operation Blue Roof” photo I attached to this email underneath this link and have it open in a new window?
FEMA published an Ian webpage that includes information on how to donate, volunteer, dispel rumors, and find assistance. The page is available in multiple languages.
Florida survivors can apply for federal assistance at, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or by using the FEMA App. Survivors using a relay service such as a video relay service, captioned telephone service, or others, give the FEMA operator the number for that service. To reduce your wait time on phone, try calling early in the morning or later at night.
FEMA National Flood Insurance Program policyholders can start a claim when evacuated. They should ask their agent about advance payments to receive up to $20,000. If you need help reaching your flood insurance agent or carrier, call 877-336-2627. Visit to start a flood insurance claim.
Online compilation of recovery resources and links.
Online compilation of resources and links. 

Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
Mental health resources are available. Survivors experiencing emotional distress can call or text the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990. The national hotline provides free 24/7, crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.

Suncoast Cares: Dial 2-1-1
Residents in Manatee, Sarasota, and Desoto Counties can access 2-1-1 by phone, email, chat or text (just text your zip code to 898-211). Reaching out will get you connected to a multilingual 2-1-1 specialist in your area who can put you in touch with local organizations providing critical services.

Business Recovery Center (BRC) currently operating in Tampa:
The Tampa BRC is located at the Chloe Coney Urban Enterprise Center, located at 1907 E. Hillsborough Ave., Tampa, FL 33610. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday 9 AM – 5 PM and Saturday 9 AM - 1 PM. More BRC's will be opening in the coming days as the Florida SBDC Network is working to position their Mobile Assistance Centers (MAC's) in the hardest hit areas of Lee and Charlotte Counties.

The first Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is now open in Fort Myers: 
The Fort Myers BRC is located at Lakes Regional Library, 15290 Bass Road, Fort Myers, FL 33919, and will be open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM, Eastern Time. Additional Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are being established by FEMA and FDEM and will be announced in the coming days. Locations will be updated in real time at

The Disaster Recovery Centers are collocated with Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ Initial Payment Centers. The purpose of the Initial Payment Center is for policyholders to meet directly with their insurance companies to file claims, and for the insurance company to issue checks to Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, insurance carriers will focus on the immediate needs of policy holders by providing resources for specific items including living expenses.

To help Floridians stay in touch with their loved ones and find additional support, Florida has also deployed mental health professionals who can offer counselling and support, as well as five SpaceX Starlinks to provide internet and cellular access.

Along with volunteer groups, representatives from the following state agencies, partners, and federal organizations currently on site and available to help survivors and provide individual and business assistance include:

  • Florida Division of Emergency Management
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
  • Office of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis
  • Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
  • Florida Department of Children and Families
  • Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
  • Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
  • Enterprise Florida, Inc.
  • Legal Services of North Florida
  • CareerSource Southwest Florida
  • CareerSource South Florida
  • CareerSource Pasco Hernando
  • Florida Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC)
  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

VISIT FLORIDA has activated the Emergency Accommodations Module on to provide real-time hotel and lodging availability for impacted Floridians and visitors throughout the state.

Weather and Disaster Information

Resources to respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters.

Resources for preparing for and recovering from disasters.



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