SBA disaster assistance loans are now available

Agency acted on its own after denial of state’s appeal for disaster declaration

Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to Hawaii businesses and residents impacted by Tropical Storm Lane, the U.S. Small Business Administration has announced.

In August, Lane approached the islands as a hurricane, but it downgraded to a tropical storm and veered away from the islands. However, tropical-storm-force winds fueled a brush fire Aug. 24 that burned 1,500 acres in West Maui and damaged or destroyed more than 20 structures.

The SBA said the period of time for disaster assistance for wildfires and floods in Maui and Hawaii counties is from Aug. 22 to 29.

The federal agency acted under its own authority to declare a disaster following the denial of the state’s appeal for a major disaster declaration for individual assistance.

SBA Administrator Linda McMahon said: ìSBA is strongly committed to providing Hawaii with the most effective and customer-focused response possible, and we will be there to provide access to federal disaster loans to help finance recovery for businesses and residents affected by the disaster.î

Low-interest federal loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters whose property was damaged or destroyed by wildfires or flooding.

An SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be open, beginning Nov. 27, at the Hawaii District Health Office in the Lahaina Comprehensive Health Center. It is located at 1830 Honoapiilani Highway. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The office will close Dec. 6.

Businesses and nonprofits may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. Working capital is available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size.

Homeowners have access to disaster loans of up to $200,000 for repairs or to replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates can be as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofits and 2 percent for homeowners and renters with terms of up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on an applicant’s financial need.

To apply online, get more information or download application forms, go to disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. The customer service center may be reached at (800) 659-2955, or send email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339.

Completed applications may be sent to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas 76155.

The deadline to apply for assistance for property damage is Jan. 22, and for economic injury, Aug. 20.

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