In the wake of Hurricane Idalia, small business owners in several Florida and Georgia counties may find some solace in the assistance provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA). For those who have experienced damage to their assets or a hit to their revenue, the SBA is offering disaster loans to aid in recovery. Here’s a rundown of what’s available, who’s eligible, and how you can apply.
1. Eligibility Criteria
For businesses in Florida, the counties eligible for SBA disaster loans include Citrus, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee, and Taylor. However, those located in the contiguous Florida counties of Alachua, Columbia, Gilchrist, Hernando, Jefferson, Madison, Marion, and Sumter can only apply for economic injury loans. Across the state border in Georgia, businesses in the counties of Echols and Lowndes can also apply for economic injury loans.
2. Key Dates to Remember
For those wanting to apply, take note of the deadlines:
- For physical damage claims: October 30, 2023
- For economic injury claims: May 31, 2024
3. Types of SBA Disaster Loans Available
Home Disaster Loans: Available for homeowners or renters, these loans can be used to repair or replace disaster-affected real estate and personal items, including cars.
Business Physical Disaster Loans: Whether you’re a small business owner or a larger entity, if you’ve experienced physical damage to your business-owned property (this includes real estate, inventory, machinery, etc.), you can apply. Notably, non-profit organizations like charities, churches, and private universities can also benefit from this loan type.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): Specifically designed for small businesses and most private non-profit organizations, EIDLs provide the necessary working capital to meet financial obligations. If the disaster has directly impacted your ability to meet these obligations, this loan type might be suitable for you.
4. Applying for a Loan? Here’s Some Assistance
While the process might seem daunting, the SBA encourages applicants to apply online for a disaster loan. To address concerns or queries, an SBA disaster call center is operational Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET and over the weekend from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET. Reach out at 800?659?2955 for support.
5. Job Opportunities with the SBA
If you’re seeking employment opportunities, the SBA is on a hiring spree for temporary positions to assist with disaster relief efforts. Several of these positions offer remote work options, and if you’re bilingual, that’s a significant advantage. You can learn more about these openings and apply immediately.
6. Stay Updated
For comprehensive updates regarding Hurricane Idalia’s aftermath, FEMA’s dedicated page provides all the latest news, available in multiple languages. Additionally, for insights into government-wide response strategies and actions of other agencies, consider visiting the Hurricane Idalia page on USA.gov.
To all small business owners grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia: know that assistance is at hand, and resources are available to help you rebuild and get back on your feet.
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