Small, nonfarm businesses in 35 California counties — including Stanislaus County — are now eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U. S. Small Business Administration.
These loans are to help offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the drought that began on Jan. 1, said Tanya N. Garfield, acting director of SBA’s disaster field operations center-west.
The primary California counties open for economic disaster assistance are: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Monterey, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne and Ventura.
Neighboring California counties eligible are: Orange, Placer, Riverside, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sutter and Yolo. Businesses in eight neighboring counties in Arizona and Nevada are also eligible to apply for the loans.
“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,” Garfield said.
Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit 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 2.625 percent for private, nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private, nonprofits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” Garfield said.
By law, SBA makes EIDLs available when the U. S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. Secretary Tom Vilsack declared this disaster on Jan. 15.
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. However, in drought disasters nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster assistance.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster.
The deadline to apply for these loans is Sept. 15.