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SBA offers disaster assistance loans to Puerto Rico businesses, residents

The US Small Business Administration announced the availability of low-interest disaster loans to businesses and residents in Puerto Rico in response to the disaster declaration after Hurricane Fiona struck the island.

“SBA’s mission-driven team stands ready to help Puerto Rico small businesses and residents impacted by this disaster in every way possible under President Biden’s disaster declaration for certain affected areas,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas-Guzmán. “We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild.”

“With this declaration, we are now fully prepared to move forward to assist the people of Puerto Rico,” said Francisco Sanchez, Jr., Associate Administrator, Disaster Assistance.

“We have personnel already on the island staffing our Initial Operating Facility working diligently with our federal partners and the Commonwealth to urgently open disaster recovery centers,” he said.

The disaster declaration covers 58 municipalities, which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) from the SBA. 

Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in Arecibo, Barceloneta, Camuy, Guanica, Hatillo, Las Marías, Loíza, Manatí, Mayagüez, Sabana Grande, San Germán, and San Sebastián are eligible to apply only for EIDLs, the agency stated.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. 

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property.

Applicants that have an existing SBA disaster loan may apply under this declaration. Businesses and residents with previous SBA disaster loans and current applicants have up to two years from the date of their prior loan approval in which to request a loan increase for mitigation projects.

“The opportunity to include measures to help prevent future damage from occurring is a significant benefit of SBA’s disaster loan program,” said SBA Associate Administrator Francisco Sanchez, Jr. “I encourage everyone to consult their contractors and emergency management mitigation specialists for ideas and apply for an SBA disaster loan increase for funding.”

Interest rates are as low as 3.04% for businesses, 1.875% for nonprofit organizations, and 2.188% for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years.

Applicants may apply online, but to be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online or download the FEMA mobile app.

The filing deadline for physical property damage applications is Nov. 21, 2022, while applicants for economic injury aid have until June 21, 2023, to file.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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