ATLANTA – South Carolinian residents and businesses whose property suffered damage due to Hurricane Ian from Sept. 25 to Oct. 4 can rebuild stronger by applying for a disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The disaster loan program includes funding for mitigation to reduce future property damage in a similar disaster.
Most applicants may be eligible for a loan increase of up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA, to cover the cost of improvements. Mitigation loan funding is in addition to the amount of the approved disaster loan. Even if residents had most of their damages covered by insurance, they can apply for a minimal SBA disaster loan and then also apply for low-interest mitigation funding to make improvements to protect their home or business.
Examples of mitigation projects to prevent future flooding may include grading and runoff improvement; elevating mechanicals, utilities and service equipment; and installing a sump pump, French drain or retaining wall. To prevent wind damage, property owners could install hurricane-rated garage doors, hurricane shutters, or pressure-rated windows. To learn more about mitigation options visit sba.gov/mitigation or see these FEMA publications for mitigation for flooding and high winds.
“The opportunity to include measures to help prevent future damage from occurring is a significant benefit of SBA’s disaster loan program,” said SBA Associate Administrator Francisco Sanchez, Jr. “I encourage everyone to consult their contractors and emergency management mitigation specialists for ideas and apply for an SBA disaster loan increase for funding.”
Businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters that are eligible for an SBA disaster loan and do not apply before the deadline may be leaving disaster funds on the table. Property owners repairing damages that were not covered by FEMA or private insurance, find in most cases SBA disaster loans cover landscaping, decks, fencing, sheds, garages, walkways and driveways that were damaged due to the declared incident.
The disaster declaration covers Charleston, Georgetown and Horry counties in South Carolina, which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs): Berkeley, Colleton, Dillon, Dorchester, Marion and Williamsburg in South Carolina; and Brunswick, Columbus and Robeson in North Carolina.
Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) 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.
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property.
Building back smarter and stronger can be an effective recovery tool for future disasters. Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase of 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, elevation, retaining walls, and landscaping to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.
Interest rates are as low as 3.04 for businesses, 1.875 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 2.188 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.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/ and should apply under SBA declaration # 17711.
Disaster loan information and application forms can also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services) or sending an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from 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 Jan. 20, 2023. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Aug. 21, 2023.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.