WASHINGTON – Pennsylvania businesses and residents affected by the flash flooding and severe storms in Berks County, Pennsylvania, on July 9, are eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced today.
Administrator Guzman made the loans available in response to a letter from Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, dated Sept. 27, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. Businesses and residents in the declared area can now apply for low-interest disaster loans from the SBA. The declaration covers Berks County and the adjacent counties of Chester, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Schuylkill in Pennsylvania.
“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Pennsylvania with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” said Guzman. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”
The SBA will establish a Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Albright College Roessner Hall. The Center will open on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 11 a.m., and will close permanently on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 4 p.m. The Center will be closed on Monday, Oct. 9, in observance of Columbus Day. SBA Customer Service Representatives will be at the Center to answer questions about the disaster loan program, check an application’s status, upload documents and assist with reconsideration requests.
The hours of operation will be as indicated below.
Disaster Loan Outreach Center
Albright College Roessner Hall
Reading, PA 19604
Opening: Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Hours: Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Closed Monday, Oct. 9 for Columbus Day
Closes Permanently: Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, at 4 p.m.
“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’s Pennsylvania District Director Stephen R. Dixel.
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.
“Loans up to $500,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $100,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Ed Fears, acting director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.
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, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage.
Interest rates are as low as 4 % for businesses, 2.375 % for nonprofit organizations, and 2.5 % for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA sets loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s financial condition. Interest does not accrue, and payments are not due until twelve months from the date of the first loan disbursement.
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 # 18207.
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 Nov. 27, 2023. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 28, 2024.
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, 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.