Agency has provided $1 billion in Texas since Harvey hit
Compiled by Joe Southern
Hurricane Harvey flooded nearly a fourth of Fort Bend County when it hit late August and many people are still struggling to recover.
Although most Harvey survivors have gone or are going to FEMA disaster recovery centers, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) reminds people that they can also find help with them, not just business owners but homeowners and renters as well.
“SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private nonprofits and homeowners and renters by providing low-interest direct federal recovery loans,” said Garth MacDonald, U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance Public Information Officer.
He said loans as low as 3.305 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofits and 1.75 percent for homeowners or renters are available with terms up to 30 years.
“We can loan for any uninsured or under-insured damages. For small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations, SBA can also offer low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans as well as loans for physical damages,” MacDonald said.
The SBA has offices at the two FEMA sites in Fort Bend County. One is in Simonton and the other is located at the Fort Bend County Sienna Annex, 5855 Sienna Springs Way, Room 111, Missouri City.
MacDonald said there is no cost to apply and no obligation to accept any loan funds. Applicants don’t have to even know how much they may need when they apply.
“They don’t have to wait for any insurance claims to fully settle. SBA will work with applicants while they are working on insurance claims settlements and making decisions on how to move forward in recovery,” he said.
According to Administrator Linda McMahon, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the SBA has approved more than $1 billion in low-interest federal disaster loans for Texas businesses and residents impacted by Harvey.
“When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in August, the SBA’s many advancements in our disaster loan program allowed our team to get to work, even before the waters receded,” McMahon said. “The improvements in our loan processing capabilities are allowing us to approve disaster loans at a record pace. These loans are helping Texas businesses and residents recover and rebuild.”
The SBA has approved more than 858 loans for $82 million for businesses and more than 11,111 loans for $929 million for residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. The $1 billion in Hurricane Harvey disaster loan approvals occurred within 46 days. In comparison, after Hurricane Sandy the SBA reached the billion-dollar approval milestone 90 days after the storm.
Businesses and residents who sustained damages are encouraged to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency before the Oct. 24 deadline at www.disasterassistance.gov.
“Don’t miss out on any assistance you may be entitled to by not registering for help. You don’t need to wait for your insurance to settle or obtain a contractor’s estimate,” McMahon said.
SBA representatives are still available at all federal-state Disaster Recovery Centers and five SBA Business Recovery Centers throughout the affected areas to explain SBA’s disaster loan program, help business owners and residents complete their electronic loan application, and close their approved disaster loans. Additional information and details on the location of the centers is available by calling 800-659-2955 or visiting SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster.
Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to help businesses and residents with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.
For small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace their damaged or destroyed primary residence. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.
Applicants may apply online using SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Applicants may receive additional disaster assistance information by visiting www.sba.gov/disaster. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call 800-877-8339.
Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The deadline to apply for property damage is Oct. 24. The deadline to apply for economic injury is May 25, 2018.