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Feb. 26—Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday announced the availability of new federal disaster assistance for small businesses impacted by the winter weather.
The low-interest loans are available only in counties declared part of the disaster area — 108 counties in Texas qualify, including Cameron and Hidalgo counties.
"We know that these past weeks have been challenging for far too many Texans. ... I want to reassure the people of Texas that we are using every tool at our disposal to help those in need," Abbott said. "We have overcome challenges in the past, and we will overcome this challenge together."
Interest rates on the federal Small Business Administration disaster loans range from 2 percent to 6 percent, with most of them coming in at the low end.
Qualifying businesses must use the funds to repair or replace disaster-related property owned by the business, which includes real estate, inventories, supplies and machinery and equipment.
Businesses covered by these loans also include small agricultural cooperatives and nonprofits.
All applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA and show they can repay the loans. Collateral is required for loans over $25,000.
Applications can be made at the SBA website at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/
The SBA has also established two new resources to help address disaster loan questions.
As of Tuesday, the Virtual Business Recovery Center and the Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center may be reached Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing FOCWAssistance@sba.gov.
For individuals interested in all forms of disaster assistance, and who live in one of the counties covered by the disaster declaration, contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
To determine if you are eligible to apply, visit the FEMA website at https://www.disasterassistance.gov.