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SBA OKs $100M+ in Hurricane Fiona aid in Puerto Rico so far

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $100 million in disaster loans for 3,403 small businesses, homeowners, renters, and private nonprofit organizations with losses resulting from Hurricane Fiona last September in Puerto Rico. 

“The $100 million milestone is essential to note because it shows the immense scale of damage that is becoming more common as our climate changes and demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to responding quickly to help the small businesses, nonprofits, and individual renters and homeowners most impacted by natural disasters,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas-Guzman.

“In the face of massive damage brought on by Hurricane Fiona, the SBA’s disaster assistance teams were on the scene in Puerto Rico to help people rebuild and get back to work,” she said.

Last month, Guzman announced the launch of the newly reorganized and renamed Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience (ODR&R), which will play a critical role in supporting the agency’s customers as natural disasters become more devastating, come faster and more frequent and are often rapidly changing in their complexity and scope. 

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 disasters, the agency said.

“Puerto Rico’s small businesses have suffered a succession of environmental and economic disasters in the past four years. The $100 million in disaster recovery funding for Puerto Rican small businesses and residents impacted by Hurricane Fiona is needed and timely,” said Region II Administrator Marlene Cintrón, who oversees the federal agency’s operations in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“I encourage business owners to apply for this critical disaster relief even if you were previously denied,” she said. “SBA resource partners are ready to assist you every step of the way.” 

 “SBA remains committed to helping small businesses, homeowners, renters, and private non-profits to recover from the effects of Hurricane Fiona,” said Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands District Director Josué E. Rivera. 

“Disaster relief resources will allow our small businesses and communities in Puerto Rico to cover losses not covered by insurance or funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for both personal and business and continue business operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred. Applications are still being accepted and we encourage eligible businesses and nonprofits to apply,” he said.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website and should apply under SBA declaration #17640, agency officials said. The deadline to return Economic Injury applications is June 21, 2023.

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

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