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Disaster assistance available for small businesses

POSTED March 18, 2011 7:49 p.m.
Small, non-farm businesses in San Joaquin County and the neighboring counties of Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento and Stanislaus are now eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U. S. Small Business Administration.  “These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by freezing temperatures that occurred in San Joaquin County from Nov. 25 through Nov. 26, 2010,” announced Alfred E. Judd, director of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West. “SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster,” Judd said.Small, non-farm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.“Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage.  These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for businesses and 3 percent for private, non-profit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private, non‑profits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” Judd said.By law, SBA makes EIDLs available when the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster.  Secretary Tom Vilsack declared this disaster at the request of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance.  Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U. S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. 

Information and application forms are available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659‑2955, e-mailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Hearing impaired individuals may call (800) 877-8339.  Applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.  The deadline to apply for these loans is Nov. 9.
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