Guest Editorial by Niagara County Legislature Chairwoman Becky Wydysh
Back in July, I wrote about the terrible storms and flooding that did tremendous property damage across Niagara County. The torrential rainfall hit in a line from Lewiston to Lockport, wreaking havoc on many areas below the escarpment. Thank you to everyone who took time to file damage reports with Niagara County Emergency Services.
Now, I want to make sure all residents impacted by the July 20 storm are aware that they may apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. In making the announcement, SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman said, “SBA’s mission-driven team stands ready to help Niagara County small businesses and residents impacted by the July severe storms and flash flooding. We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild.”
This is certainly an important announcement that will hopefully provide some measure of relief for those whose insurance will not cover all the damage.
Here’s what you need to know about the SBA disaster loan program. There are three different types of loans:
√ Business Physical Disaster Loans – Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, nonprofit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.
√ Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.
√ Home Disaster Loans – Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles.
The loan program is designed with very favorable terms. Interest rates can be as low as 1.6%, and terms can be up to 30 years. Like any loan, SBA will look at credit history and ability to repay.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s customer service center at 800-659-2955 or email [email protected] for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Please note, the filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 8, 2021. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 9, 2022.
Clearly, there have been numerous weather events and natural disasters across the country that have rightly garnered a lot of attention. So I want to acknowledge the efforts of our state and federal leaders who worked hard to make sure our community was not overlooked by getting SBA to offer disaster loans to Niagara County residents.