SBA disaster assistance expands to additional counties

ATLANTA — The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has added more counties to the disaster declaration in Florida for small businesses affected by the red tide algal bloom beginning Nov. 1.

SBA Administrator Linda McMahon added more counties in response to a letter from Gov. Rick Scott on Sept. 18, requesting that Pinellas County be added to the disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties and the adjacent counties of Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, Polk and Pasco in Florida.

Low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) from the Small Business Administration are available to Florida small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and private nonprofit organizations affected by the red tide algal bloom beginning Nov. 1.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Florida with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist small businesses with federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans,” said Ms. McMahon. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

SBA’s customer service representatives will be available at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center located at the Lee County City/County Annex Building, 1825 Hendry St. in Fort Myers, to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday nd Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The SBA can help affected small businesses and nonprofit organizations overcome their economic losses by offering working capital loans, but the help cannot start until they submit an SBA disaster loan application to us,” said SBA’s South Florida interim District Director Lynn Douthett.

Eligible entities may qualify for loans up to $2 million. The SBA offers economic injury loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. The rates on these loans are 3.385 percent for small businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years. Eligibility for these working capital loans are based on the size and type of business and its financial resources. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at Applications and program information are available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing Loan applications can also be downloaded at Completed applications should be returned to a center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for economic injury is June 4, 2019.

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