SBA offers disaster assistance in Washington County due to Hurricane Sally

Washington County News

Florida businesses and residents in Washington County affected by Hurricane Sally in September of last year may apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Acting SBA Administrator Tami Perriello announced recently.

Perriello made the loans available in response to a letter from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Washington County, and the adjacent counties of Bay, Holmes, Jackson, and Walton in Florida.

The right side of Washington County extension received heavy flooding as a result of the storm

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Florida with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners, and renters with federal disaster loans,” said Perriello.

“Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

The right side of Washington County extension received heavy flooding as a result of the storm

In accordance with health precautions for COVID-19, the SBA will not establish a field presence to assist survivors. However, the SBA will continue to provide customer service and conduct outreach virtually with webinars, phone assistance and step-by-step application assistance.

Outreach Center

The SBA has opened a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center to help survivors apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan@sba.gov.

Virtual customer support representatives are available to help applicants complete the online application during these hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST seven days a week at the Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center (VDLOC).

An office in Chipley sustained damage from Hurricane Sally.

The email address is FOCE-Help@sba.gov, and the phone number is 800-659-2955.

Survivors should contact the SBA’s Disaster Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 for assistance in completing their loan applications.

Requests for SBA disaster loan program information may be obtained by emailing FOCE-Help@sba.gov.

Assistance provided

The SBA will conduct extensive outreach to ensure that those affected by the disaster have an opportunity to apply for assistance.

“Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets,” said SBA North Florida District Director Michael Barrera.

The yard of this mobile home sustain massive flooding during Hurricane Sally last September.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes.

Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 3 percent for businesses, 3 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.125 percent for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

How to apply

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.

Loan applications may also be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster.

Completed applications should be 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 physical property damage is March 29, 2021. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Oct. 28, 2021.