Residents and businesses in Puerto Rico affected by heavy rains and flooding on Nov. 12- 13, can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, agency Administrator Karen G. Mills announced Wednesday.
Mills made the loans available in response to a letter from former Gov. Luis Fortuño on Dec. 19, 2012, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers the town of Vega Baja and the adjacent municipalities of Manatí, Morovis and Vega Alta.
“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Puerto Rico with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist homeowners, renters, and businesses of all sizes with federal disaster loans,” said Mills. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”
“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.
“Businesses and nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets,” said Francisco Marrero, SBA’s Puerto Rico acting district director.
The SBA may increase a loan up to 20 percent of the total amount of disaster damage to real estate and/or leasehold improvements, as verified by SBA, to make improvements that lessen the risk of property damage by future disasters of the same kind.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
Interest rates are as low as 1.688 percent for homeowners and renters, 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
Applicants may apply online using the SBA’s Electronic Loan Application system on its secure website. The filing deadline for physical property damage applications is March 4, 2013. The deadline for economic injury applications is October 3, 2013.