The Reimagined Office of Disaster Recovery & Resilience Will Position SBA to Support the Biden-Harris Whole-of-Government Climate Change Response
Today, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice in President Biden’s Cabinet for America’s 33 million small businesses, announced the second stage of the Agency’s realignment and strengthening of its disaster enterprise with the launch of the newly reorganized and renamed Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience (ODR&R), effective immediately.
“When small businesses and their communities are hit by disaster, the SBA is on the ground with vital resources to aid their recovery. The transformation of our SBA disaster enterprise to align all of our capital programs will help us implement President Biden’s call to ensure disaster survivors can easily and swiftly connect to vital financial relief,” said Administrator Guzman. “Further, by layering support for recovery and resilience, we can help strengthen small businesses and communities to better prepare for and manage the disruptive impacts to their lives and livelihoods caused by increasing extreme weather events.”
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the SBA has placed greater emphasis on preparing small businesses, homeowners, renters, and communities by helping them pivot and adapt to the tremendous financial and life-altering impacts of climate change. At Administrator Guzman’s direction, the newly reimagined and realigned office will play a critical role in supporting our customers as natural disasters become more devastating, come faster and more frequently, and are often rapidly changing in their complexity and scope.
“This marks the most significant transformation for disaster relief in SBA’s history and builds on a successful record of helping communities recover,” said Francisco Sanchez Jr., Associate Administrator, Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience. “It’s a privilege to have worked on making Administrator Guzman’s vision into a legacy accomplishment that positions SBA for the disasters ahead through fostering resilient communities where small businesses can grow, local economies can thrive, and people can prosper.”
Formerly known within the SBA as the Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA), the Office of Disaster Recovery & Resilience (ODR&R) marks the second and final phase of the reorganization of the SBA’s disaster program. The first phase was transferring the disaster lending program from ODA to the Office of Capital Access (OCA) on July 3, 2022. From January 2021 to December 2022, the SBA approved over $4.3 billion in disaster lending and supported federal response efforts to 337 natural disasters in FY2022 alone. In 2022, the United States experienced 18 separate weather or climate disasters that each resulted in at least $1 billion in damages.
ODR&R’s core mission remains to support the SBA’s delivery of disaster assistance. In addition, the reorganization will allow for an expanded focus on recovery and resilience through enhanced coordination and a whole-of-agency approach to deploying all SBA programs to communities impacted by disaster.
ODR&R will have a stronger coordination role within the SBA and support federally coordinated disaster preparedness, response, recovery, planning, and economic resilience activities. It will also leverage other SBA programs that can enhance a business’s opportunity to recover and thrive after being impacted by a disaster and, in turn, help the entire disaster-impacted community recover.
This change will improve the customer experience for disaster survivors and disaster-impacted communities through coordination of non-financial support, and expanded intra-agency and community coordination.