The thing about disasters, is that you never really prepare totally for them. Some have to leave it all just to escape with their lives, as was the case with Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma. Meanwhile, the west, wild fires have scorched large parts of Montana and California.
Businesses can be devastated in just days or even hours. There are options that can help when it comes time to rebuild, however. For instance, low-interest federal disaster loans are now available to Texas businesses and residents as a result of President Trump’s major disaster declaration, SBA Administrator Linda McMahon has announced. The disaster declaration covers several Texas counties as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
According to SBA.gov, areas of Florida hit by Hurricane Irma that are now eligible for SBA Disaster Loans are: Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, and Sarasota. The following contiguous Florida counties are eligible for Economic Injury Loans only: Broward, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Henry, Highlands, Pasco, and Polk.
Texas counties eligible for SBA disaster loans are: Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller & Wharton; Angelina, Atascosa, Brooks, Burleson, Caldwell, Grimes, Guadalupe, Houston, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Live Oak, Madison, Milam, San Augustine, Shelby, Travis, Trinity, Washington, Williamson, and Wilson.
Businesses and private nonprofit organizations can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. The SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program that can provide up to $2 million of financial assistance) to small businesses or private, non-profit organizations that suffer substantial economic injury as a result of a disasters such as Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
Economic injury assistance is available to businesses regardless of any property damage. Interest rates can be as low as 3.305 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
“SBA is strongly committed to providing Texas with the most effective and customer-focused response possible and with access to federal disaster loans to help Texas businesses and residents affected by this disaster,” Linda McMahon said. “Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, survivors must first call the Federal Emergency Management Agency at (800) 621-FEMA (3362). As soon as Federal-State Disaster Recovery Centers open throughout the affected area, SBA will provide one-on-one assistance to disaster loan applicants.