SBA re-opens Sandy recover loans

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Superstorm Sandy may be three years in the review mirror, but the effects of her power are still affecting businesses throughout the region.

The U.S. Small Business Administration officially recognized that fact when, late last year, it announced a re-opening of its application filing period for small business owners who seek low-interest disaster loans. The new deadline to submit applications for physical damage and economic injury losses is Dec. 1.

“The additional time for businesses, homeowners and renters to request federal disaster loans will go a long way in continuing to support the rebuilding efforts of the communities affected by Superstorm Sandy,” said Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the U.S. SBA. “I want to thank the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Small Business Committees for their leadership on this issue. To date, the agency has received more than 1,000 applications. We have improved processing time on applications and, on average, provide a disaster loan decision in eight days and cash disbursement on average five days after receipt of loan closing documents. To date, we have approved $2.5 billion in loan assistance to more than 37,000 individuals and businesses affected by Sandy.”

In December, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Recovery Improvements for Small Entities After Disaster Act of 2015, which gives the SBA administrator the authority to make disaster loans for Superstorm Sandy available for one year. The bill authorized the SBA to revise the disaster deadline for major presidential declarations for Superstorm Sandy in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

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

Homeowners also may qualify for disaster loans up to $200,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, and homeowners and renters may be eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.

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, according to the SBA. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.

Some improvements could include building a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interested applicants can apply online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. More information can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at (800) 659–2955 or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The Richmond County center of the SBA is located at the NYC Business Solutions Center, 120 Stuyvesant Place, Third Floor, and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.