SBA outreach center set up in Morris to assist with flood relief

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Sep. 15—A physical disaster declaration for three counties, including Otsego, has been approved by the Small Business Administration, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday, Sept. 14.

The declaration allows eligible individuals, residents, business owners and nonprofits in Otsego, Niagara and Rensselaer counties and their adjacent counties to apply for low-interest loans to help rebuild and recover. To assist residents, the SBA has established service centers in the three counties.

The Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Morris Fire Department, at 117 E. Main St., will offer assistance to those in Otsego, Schoharie, Delaware, Chenango, Madison, Oneida, Herkimer and Montgomery counties. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 24.

Hochul requested the declaration, which included Niagara and Rensselaer counties, on Sept. 1, related to three separate severe weather events in late July that caused damage to homes and businesses.

Locally, the Butternut Valley region bore the brunt of the summer storms that swept the region Saturday, July 17, into Sunday, July 18.

According to the Small Business Administration, three types of loans are available.

Business Physical Disaster Loans are loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, nonprofit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans are working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. The loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.

Home Disaster Loans are loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles.

To be eligible, applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA, show the ability to repay all loans, and, for loans higher than $25,000, have collateral. SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available. SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but requires applicants to pledge what is available, according to a media release.

The law authorizes loan terms up to a maximum of 30 years, the SBA said, but the law restricts businesses with credit available elsewhere to a maximum seven-year term. SBA sets the installment payment amount and corresponding maturity based upon each borrower's ability to repay.

Business loans are up to $2 million for the repair or replacement of real estate, inventories, machinery, equipment and all other physical losses. Subject to this maximum, loan amounts cannot exceed the verified uninsured disaster loss.

EIDLs are also up to $2 million for alleviating economic injury caused by the disaster. The actual amount of each loan is limited to the economic injury determined by SBA, less business interruption insurance and other recoveries up to the administrative lending limit. EIDL assistance is available only to entities and their owners who cannot provide for their own recovery from non-government sources, as determined by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The $2 million statutory limit for business loans applies to the combination of physical, economic injury, mitigation and refinancing, and applies to all disaster loans to a business and its affiliates for each disaster, the release said.

SBA regulations limit home loans to $200,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate and $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Subject to these maximums, loan amounts cannot exceed the verified uninsured disaster loss.

For more information about disaster loans and applications, visit sba.gov/disaster or call the SBA's Customer Service center at 1-800-659-2955, or 1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

The deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 8, and the deadline for economic injury applications is June 9.

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