Small Business Admin offers loans to aid storm recovery

Low-interest loans are available to homeowners and businesses harmed by the winter storms, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Jan. 15.

Businesses and private nonprofits may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replaced damaged real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. Additional funds are available to businesses and homeowners to protect against the same kind of damage in the future.

The storms have also caused economic hardship for businesses, even if they had no physical damage. As a result, SBA offers economic injury disaster loans “to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster … regardless of any property damage.” Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations are eligible for economic injury disaster loans.

Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters can access up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

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SBA said the interest rates start at about 3.3% for businesses, 2.4% for private nonprofits and 2.3% for homeowners and renters, with terms of up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA based on an applicant’s finances.

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SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a statement that her agency is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state and local officials to “deliver expedient disaster recovery loans” to affected Californians.

“My heartfelt condolences go out to the families who have lost loved ones, and I urge affected residents to stay safe and heed the guidance of local emergency officials,” Guzman said. “As the state faces continued rainfall and heightened risks of flooding and mudslides, the SBA is committed to providing the full breadth of our resources to help small businesses and communities recover and rebuild stronger than before.”

All applicants for disaster aid must first contact FEMA at Once disaster recovery centers open SBA will offer one-on-one assistance to loan applicants. For more information, call SBA customer service at 800-659-2955.

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