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SBA OKs $3.7M+ in disaster loans in 30 days after Hurricane Fiona hit

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $3.7 million in disaster loans for 106 businesses and residents with losses resulting from Hurricane Fiona on Sept. 17-21 in Puerto Rico, the agency announced.

“The SBA encourages anyone who has not applied to act right away.  Our mission is to help businesses and residents rebuild and resume their normal lives as quickly as possible,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

SBA’s Customer Service Representatives are available at Business Recovery Centers — in Arecibo, Barranquitas, Caguas, Fajardo, Mayagüez, Ponce and Yabucoa — to answer questions and provide one-to-one assistance to Puerto Ricans who need help with applying for a low-interest disaster loan.  

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.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage. 

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 may be eligible for a loan amount increase of up to 20% of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA, for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, elevation, retaining walls, and landscaping to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster. 

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.  

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.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website  and should apply under SBA declaration #17640. 

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 21, 2022. 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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