In just three months since Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $1.1 billion in disaster loans to residents and business owners affected by the storm.
According to a release from the SBA, approximately 16,700 individuals have received loans, making Sandy the country's third largest disaster in terms of loaned dollars. Currently, Sandy sits behind 2005's Hurricane Katrina and its $10.8 billion in SBA loans, and 1994's Northridge, Calif., earthquake, which totaled $4 billion in loans. Sandy, however, could supplant those disaster totals in the long run.
The SBA also announced recent emergency legislation in Congress that adds $799 million to the administration's disaster assistance program budget. According to a release, $520 million of that total is for disaster loan subsidy costs, which would support $5 billion in SBA disaster loans. Another $249 million will cover administrative costs. Remaining funding will be used for miscellaneous programs.
"Getting money into the hands of individuals and businesses in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy continues to be one of our top priorities,” SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills said in a release. “My pledge to those affected by the hurricane is that SBA, working together with our local and federal partners, will help you rebuild. I am pleased Congress took the important step of appropriating much-needed funds to help us keep our promise.”
SBA loans have been offered to Sandy victims who might have been ineligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding or for those who need more than was available from either FEMA or their insurance carriers. The administration advertises its loans as low-interest, though the rates fluctuate based on a number of factors, including credit rating and income.
Currently, SBA has 2,400 staff members supporting Sandy response in seven states — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina — and Puerto Rico.
Sandy victims can still apply for an SBA loan. For more information about SBA’s disaster loan program, visit www.sba.gov/sandy, or call the Disaster Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955.