San Francisco Launches Flood Relief Programs to Support Small Businesses and Residents Impacted by Flooding from Winter Storms

Small businesses, property owners, and residents that experienced significant damage from flooding may be eligible for disaster relief grants and support
January 17, 2023

San Francisco, CA—Mayor London N. Breed today announced the launch of new resources available to assist small businesses and residents impacted by flooding and damages from recent winter storms. Over the past several weeks San Francisco has experienced flooding, mudslides, and power outages that have impacted local streets, public buildings and infrastructure, residences, businesses, and community facilities.   

Impacted small business located within the city’s flood zone could be eligible for up to $5,000 and small businesses with significant flood damage located outside of the zone could be eligible for up to $2,000 in awards through the Flood Disaster Relief Grant program, which prioritizes small businesses that have been the most impacted. Additionally, the Office of the Assessor-Recorder has existing resources available for property owners, and the San Francisco Arts Commission is finalizing new disaster relief resources for artists and arts organizations.     

“The severe weather we just experienced has impacted many of our small businesses and residents in heavily affected areas and these initial efforts will help as part of our City’s recovery,” said Mayor Breed. “While these flood relief programs will provide support in the storms’ aftermath, we are hard at work making improvements to our infrastructure as part of a $632 million investment to help reduce the risk of flooding in the future."  

Small Businesses Relief Resources  

The immediate weeks after a disaster is critical for a business to determine whether it can resume operations. To support the City’s recovery, the Flood Disaster Relief Grant is available to help small businesses that have been severely impacted by flooding. Eligible small business within the city’s flood zone will be prioritized for awards. The Flood Disaster Relief Fund is led by the Office of Small Business, a division of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD).  

“We know that the recent storms have added additional difficulties to small businesses that have already been trying to recover from pandemic impacts,” said Katy Tang, Executive Director of the Office of Small Business. “While we recognize that this grant program will not solve all challenges, the City is offering support along with other resources and services currently available to businesses.”  

Grants are available on a first come, first serve basis, pending funding availability. Small businesses can apply if they fit the following eligibility criteria:  

  • Must be a registered business in San Francisco and have a physical location in the city.
  • Suffered significant physical damages from recent winter storm flooding.
  • Damages are retroactive up to December 27, 2022.  
  • Damages from wind or power outages are not eligible.
  • Home-based businesses with valid permits/licenses to operate and are open to the public/customers are eligible (for example, home-based daycare centers).
  • Must have $5 million or less in gross revenue.  
  • Must have an average of 100 or fewer employees.

Applications open on Friday, January 20, 2023, and the deadline to apply is Friday, February 10 at 5:00 p.m. For more information about the grant and application, please visit this page. For assistance, businesses can contact the Office of Small Business at (415) 554-6134, by email, or visit City Hall, Room 140.  

The City offers a myriad of services to support the business community and their employees to recover as quickly as possible, such as job search assistance, access to unemployment information, guidance around licenses and permits especially if building repairs are required, and connection to additional financial and technical resources. Additionally, the San Francisco Arts Commission and Grants for the Arts are partnering to establish a special storm relief fund to provide financial support for San Francisco artists and art organizations. Details are forthcoming and will be shared on the agency’s website.  

Property Damage Resources  
The City encourages residents and businesses to first contact and work with their insurance company and/or property owner to assess flood and storm damages. Businesses are also encouraged to inquire with their insurance company about flood insurance purchasing options, especially those located in flood prone zones.  

Businesses, homeowners and property owners should also consider applying for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Floodwater Management Grant Assistance Program, which reimburses up to $100,000 for flood prevention property improvements. Eligible groups include: 

  • Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees
  • Residences
  • Property owners that have experienced flooding in the past 

Eligible expenses include designer fees; supplies, material and installation costs; permits and encroachment fees; plumbing; dry flood risk reduction; wet flood risk reduction modifications. More information may be found on SFPUC’s website.   

Property Tax Relief: Severe Weather     
In addition to the resources outlined above, property owners who suffer damage to their property as the result of a calamity such as a flood may be eligible for property tax relief. To qualify, damage to the property must be $10,000 or more and a disaster relief form must be filed with the Assessor-Recorder within one year from the date of loss.    

“We know that these recent storms are unlike anything our city has seen in decades and have caused significant hardship for many property owners. Given the impacts of this severe weather, the Office of the Assessor-Recorder wants all San Franciscans to be aware they may qualify for property tax relief and that our staff is available to help walk them through the process from start to end,” said Assessor-Recorder Joaquín Torres.   

To learn more or to apply for available resources, visit the Office of the Assessor-Recorder's website, or call 415-554-5596.