The clock is ticking for small businesses in Alaska impacted by severe weather conditions last year, as the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has set June 23, 2023, as the final date for applying for federal disaster loans. These loans aim to offset economic injuries caused by the severe storm, flooding, and landslides that took place in Bering Strait, Kashunamiut, Lower Kuskokwim and Lower Yukon Regional Education Attendance Areas from September 15 – 20, 2022.
Tanya Garfield, Director of the U.S. SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West, recently announced the upcoming deadline. Her reminder provides a nudge to small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations of any size that are eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
“Economic Injury Disaster Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the applicant suffered any property damage,” Garfield said.
Notably, these low-interest federal disaster loans are accessible in several REAAs, including Bering Strait, Iditarod Area, Kashunamiut, Kuspuk, Lower Kuskokwim, Lower Yukon, Southwest Region, Yukon-Koyukuk and Yupiit, as well as the Northwest Arctic Borough.
The terms of these loans are favourable for distressed businesses, with interest rates of 3.04 percent for businesses and 1.875 percent for private nonprofit organizations. The repayment period can extend up to 30 years, with loan amounts and terms set by the SBA based on each applicant’s financial condition.
To apply for these disaster loans, businesses can visit the SBA’s disaster assistance website or call the SBA’s Customer Service Center. The SBA is also making efforts to ensure accessibility for all, providing telecommunications relay services for those with hearing or speech disabilities.
Further relief comes from a recent policy change announced by U.S. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. The new policy introduces a 12-month grace period with 0% interest for all disaster loans approved in response to disasters declared on or after September 21, 2022, through September 30, 2023. This includes the disaster loans currently available for Hurricane Fiona and Hurricane Ian. The revised policy aims to ease the burden of recovery for disaster survivors by reducing the overall cost of interest to be repaid.
Follow us for more Small Business News: