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December blizzard file photo
December blizzard file photo

SBA: More than $15 million in federal assistance to residents & businesses impacted by December blizzard


Fri, Jun 2nd 2023 04:10 pm

Low-interest loans were made available to more than 500 home and business owners impacted by Winter Storm Elliott in Erie, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Niagara & Wyoming counties

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the U.S. Small Business Administration provided more than $15 million in low-interest loans to New Yorkers impacted by Winter Storm Elliott in December 2022.

Her team said, “Eligible home and business owners in Erie, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Niagara and Wyoming counties were able to apply for federal assistance in the form of SBA loans after the storm devastated most of the Western New York region with sustained blizzard conditions, strong winds, and extreme wind chill. The low-interest loans include $13.5 million for residents, nearly $2 million for businesses, and more than $700,000 in Economic Injury Disaster Loans aiding a total of 531 businesses and homes.”

Hochul said, "Western New Yorkers are some of the most resilient people I know, but this storm was devastating by every definition. My thanks go out to President Biden and the Small Business Administration for offering this much-needed assistance to help New Yorkers get back on their feet, rebuild and recover from this historic storm."

A press release stated, “Following emergencies or weather-related disasters, SBA loans are often made available when eligible homeowners, renters, businesses, and others need financial support. Following Winter Storm Elliott in December 2022, staff from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) and Erie County conducted a thorough assessment of the damages related to this storm, which unlocked SBA assistance. DHSES worked with Erie County and the SBA to open two physical locations for Disaster Loan Outreach Centers to help New Yorkers apply in-person for assistance.”

Groups eligible for the low-interest disaster loans included:

√ Homeowners: up to $200,000 to repair their primary residence

√ Homeowners and renters: up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property

√ Business owners: up to $2,000,000 for the replacement of real property, inventories, machinery, equipment, and other physical losses

√ Businesses and nonprofits: Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2,000,000 to provide necessary working capital until normal operations resume after a disaster

Congressman Brian Higgins said, "Winter Storm Elliott devastated families, homes and businesses across the Western New York community. Damage assessments and recovery efforts took weeks and months, and today our community continues to mourn the lives lost during this once-in-a-generation storm. Support from the U.S. Small Business Administration built on the disaster relief funds provided by FEMA, allowing Western New Yorkers in greatest need to access the financial resources needed to address the storm damage impacting their homes and livelihoods. Thanks to these localized federal efforts, our community has been able to focus on rebuilding, recovering and healing together."

Congressman Nick Langworthy said, “Winter Storm Elliott had deadly and devastating consequences for Western New York. I'm proud to work with federal and state authorities to ensure the hardest-hit communities have the resources they need to recover and thrive. This funding is a continuation of our unwavering commitment to ensuring that families and small businesses emerge from this once-in-a-century storm stronger than ever."

U.S. Small Business Administration Director of Field Operations East Kem Fleming said, "Small businesses that suffered economic losses as a result of the disaster and want to apply for low-interest loans from the SBA are urged to do so before the Nov. 27 deadline.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "Over 500 home- and business owners received much-needed financial assistance from the Small Business Administration following the deadly and destructive Christmas blizzard, which was declared a Major Disaster by President Biden. I thank him for making that declaration and enabling this funding, and I thank Gov. Hochul for her advocacy in getting this done."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, "The historic December Blizzard had significant economic impacts on our community. As we continue to recover and plan for the upcoming winter season, it is critical that our community receives the necessary resources. I applaud Gov. Hochul for working with the Biden administration to bring relief to the businesses who need it the most."

The SBA loan program builds on federal assistance already approved through a Major Disaster Declaration, announced by Hochul in March, to provide federal assistance to communities impacted by the storm.

Under the declaration, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, St. Lawrence and Suffolk counties were designated eligible for the federal public assistance program, which provides funding to support the restoration of publicly owned infrastructure. The declaration also provided federal reimbursement for snow removal operations in Erie and Niagara counties and, under FEMA's individual assistance program, funeral assistance to those impacted in Erie and Niagara counties where 47 New Yorkers lost their lives.

DHSES' disaster recovery office worked with counterparts at FEMA and impacted local governments to assess damages caused by, and costs related to, the disaster to obtain the declaration.

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