Volunteering during natural disasters with the Department of Economic Development

Local News

5/24/2018 – SALT LAKE CITY, UT (News4Utah) – People in Utah are known as great volunteers, especially during times of natural disasters. That definitely applies to Lara Fritts, the director of the Salt Lake Department of Economic Development. 

 We asked Fritt’s the following questions:

  •      What’s the connection with Economic Development?  
  •     How are businesses recovering? 
  •      How does that help you develop the economy here in SLC? 
  •      What happens moving forward? 

Natural and man-made disasters have devastating impacts on local communities. In response to the increase in disasters, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has developed a program of disaster preparedness and post-disaster economic recovery directed at economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, local businesses, and other economic recovery stakeholders.

We hear a lot about public safety personnel like police officers and fire fighters sent out-of-state to help in times of need – this is very similar but for the economic development industry.

Hurricane Irma happened last fall. Tell us about what you saw when you were in Florida, and the damage that is still around.

It’s an area that relies heavily on tourism and many people are still staying away from the area and booking their travel elsewhere which is having a major impact.

From an administrative standpoint, many businesses expressed frustration over slow and uncoordinated efforts between local and federal agencies

  • Not timely / slow communication
  • More than six months and some businesses still haven’t received their funding
  • Even after a major disaster, many of the problems and issues are still similar to what other cities like SLC are facing:
  • Affordable housing
  • Workforce (many people didn’t return to the area after the hurricane)

What did you and the team accomplish when you were down there?

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