WASHINGTON — As cleanup from the devastating remnants of Hurricane Ida continues, area business owners and homeowners are still assessing the economic impact.
Federal assistance is being made available through the Small Business Administration to eligible businesses and residents across the region impacted after the intense storm brought flash flooding, and several tornadoes from Aug. 31 to Sept. 5.
That assistance will be provided in the form of low-interest disaster loans following President Joe Biden’s announcement of a Presidential disaster declaration Sept. 10.
The federal disaster declaration covers Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, Philadelphia and York counties, which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the agency.
In addition, small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in adjacent counties are eligible to apply for Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Those counties include: Berks, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lehigh and Northampton in Pennsylvania; New Castle in Delaware; Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil and Harford in Maryland; and Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer and Warren in New Jersey.
“SBA’s mission-driven team stands ready to help Pennsylvania small businesses and residents impacted by Hurricane Ida,” Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, said in a statement. “We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild.”
WHAT FINANCIAL HELP IS AVAILABLE
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.
Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20% of their physical damages, as verified by the Small Business Administration, for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a sump pump, elevation, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the Small Business Administration offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans 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.
For homeowners, 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.
Interest rates for the disaster loans are as low as 2.855% for businesses, 2% for nonprofit organizations and 1.563% for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the Small Business Administration and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 10, 2021. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 10, 2022.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Business owners and residents that experienced damage during the storm can apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) available via agency’s secure website at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/, and should apply under SBA declaration # 17165, not for the COVID-19 incident.
To help facilitate the loan application process, the Small Business Administration opened a Business Recovery Center in Philadelphia County on Wednesday, Sept. 15, to provide Pennsylvania businesses with one-on-one assistance in submitting a disaster loan application.
The center is located at Falls of the Schuylkill Library, 3501 Midvale Ave., in the East Falls section of Northwest Philadelphia. It is open Monday and Wednesday, noon – 8 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Closed: Saturday and Sunday. Customer Service Representatives are available to answer questions about the disaster loan program and assist business owners in completing their applications.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all visitors are encouraged to wear a face mask.
Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the Small Business Administration’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or emailing [email protected]. Loan applications can also be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, the agency is urging applicants to also register online at DisasterAssistance.gov 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. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.
Earlier this week, FEMA announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to counties covered by the emergency declaration. Individual Assistance (IA) is available through FEMA to qualified individuals and households for emergency work and home repair or replacement.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated areas should begin the process with FEMA by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 TTY for the hearing and speech impaired. Operators can also answer questions about applications already submitted.
“Assistance from FEMA can help individuals and households affected by a disaster take care of necessary expenses and serious needs that cannot be met through insurance or other forms of assistance,” MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA Region 3’s regional administrator, said in a statement. “FEMA’s Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) Teams are currently deployed to communities throughout those counties to provide additional assistance in accessing and applying for disaster assistance.”