The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest loans to small businesses and Private Nonprofits, homeowners, and renters located in regions affected by declared disasters who suffered substantial economic injury as a result of a natural disaster. SBA Disaster Loans help businesses meet working capital needs created by an unexpected event such as a natural disaster declaration. In order for small business owners to receive the low-interest loans, they must first apply with their local SBA office and have that application approved before applying for a loan from the SBA.
The most at-risk small businesses that are often unable to access traditional lending resources depend on the SBA small business disaster loans to help them through this crisis and repair damaged property and reopen again. This gives small businesses the financial flexibility they need to reopen their doors, get back on their feet and begin generating income.
The SBA small business disaster loans are tailored to meet the needs of small businesses of all sizes. The loans are intended to provide for working capital, inventory and equipment replacement, and construction that is essential for the reopening or continued operation of a small business that was directly affected by an eligible disaster.
Most recently, the SBA disaster loan program expanded to include the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) due to a temporary loss of revenue from Covid-19. Funding was available with both grants and loans for up to $2,000,000. Another program from SBA helping small businesses was the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which provided a forgivable loan to employers who kept their employees on the payroll.
To apply for small business disaster assistance, small businesses affected by the disasters, as well as small businesses located in designated areas that were forced to close due to an on-going disaster, can file an electronic loan application at www.disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. For small businesses unable to file electronically, there are alternative methods available. If small business owners wish, they can contact the SBA directly to request an application via mail or fax at 1-800-659-2955 or 202-205-6734. Once filed, small businesses will receive a loan decision within 48 hours and be able to access the money within approximately five days.
In addition to SBA assistance, individuals may also look into the FEMA Individual Assistance Program which provides financial support for the repair of personal property, lodging, meals, clothing, and other expenses incurred as a result of an evacuation order or during a displacement from one’s primary residence due to damage caused by the disaster.