SBA to help Heritage fire victims with loans

Garth MacDonald. REPORTER PHOTO

Garth MacDonald. REPORTER PHOTO

Fresh from three months in the field helping businesses and residents pick up the pieces after Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Garth MacDonald is in Auburn to do the same for people ousted by the Heritage Building Fire of Dec. 26.

Starting Tuesday, Jan. 23, MacDonald, a public information officer with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance, will be among those in Suite 145 at the Auburn Transit Station from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday until Feb. 1 to provide access to federal disaster loans to help finance recovery for displaced businesses and residents.

“After a request from the governor’s office, our agency, the SBA Office of Disaster Assistance, made an administrative declaration to assist those impacted by the Auburn Heritage building fire,” said MacDonald, adding that low-interest, federal disaster loans are available to affected businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters..

“Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA,” said Linda McMahon, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

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

MacDonald said loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates can be as low as 3.385 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.75 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call 800-877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. The deadline to apply for property damage is March 19. The deadline to apply for economic injury is Oct. 18.

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