Disaster recovery loans available

Published 11:08 am Thursday, March 23, 2023

Residents in Lowndes County may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help with recovery from severe storms which devastated Alabama in January.

According to José Sanabria, public affairs specialist with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), disaster relief loans for Lowndes County are available and applications are due by Oct. 16.

“[We want to] inform residents of Lowndes County about the availability of government aid in the form of loans that can help in the recuperation process of homes and businesses,” Sanabria said.

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The SBA announced the Presidential Disaster Declarations 17759 and 17760, designating the Alabama Counties of Autauga, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore, and Greene as disaster areas in January after storms ravaged those counties. The declaration established the availability of physical disaster loans for residents and businesses  in the counties and amendments of the declaration followed to spread options for economic injury loans in contiguous counties, including Lowndes.

In a February press release, Michael Lampton with SBA said SBA had approved 79 loans totaling $3,784,700 for applicants in impacted areas. Those in directly affected counties were eligible for physical disaster loans through March 16.

Contiguous counties, like Lowndes, may apply for EIDL working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small business engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet ordinary and necessary financial obligations which cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster.

“The SBA offers low-interest, long-term disaster loans to assist those with losses resulting from a declared disaster,” Lampton wrote. “Loans are available for working capital. To take advantage of this opportunity, disaster survivors need to apply by the deadline.”

Two recovery centers, one in Autauga County and the other in Dallas County, are operated to assist applicants in the loan process.

“Interest rates are as low as 3.305% for businesses, 2.375% for nonprofit organizations,” Lampton said. Terms are available up to 30 years and loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and based on each applicant’s financial conditions.

To qualify, applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA and demonstrate the ability to replay all loans. Collateral is required for EIDL loans over $25,000 and SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available.

The law limits EIDL loans to $2,000,000 when alleviating economic injury caused by a disaster. Each loan is limited to the economic injury determined by SBA, less business interruption insurance and other recoveries up to the administrative lending limit.

Restrictions on loan eligibility  can apply. Only uninsured or otherwise uncompensated disaster losses are eligible. Certain properties, like secondary homes or pleasure boats, are ineligible and other types of property such as antiques and collections are eligible only to the extent of their functional value.

In addition, applicants who have not complied with the terms of previous SBA loans may not be eligible, including borrowers who did not maintain flood and/or hazard insurance on previous SBA loans.

Information and application forms can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or by visiting disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/. Online applications may be submitted using the SBA’s Electronic Application under declaration #17759.