Thursday, June 30, 2011

Businesses impacted by devastating storms may qualify for federal assistance

Following a string of devastating spring storms and rising flood waters threatening several parts of the state, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is encouraging local small businesses to contact the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for assistance in preparing for and recovering from natural disasters. The SBA offers several types of financial assistance for businesses and nonprofit organizations that have suffered physical damage or economic injury. Businesses that have not yet been affected can contact SBA to learn how to best prepare in the event of flooding or other natural disasters.

“Small businesses are the engine of our economy and ensuring they have the resources they need to begin the rebuilding process after disaster strikes is a critical step in helping our communities get back on their feet,” McCaskill said. “The SBA has begun working with businesses hit hardest this past spring and they’re prepared to continue to help across the state with other Missouri businesses that have experienced the devastating effects of natural disasters.”

The SBA has provided a detailed fact sheet on its website to help business owners find the type of assistance that best suits their needs. Once an area has formally been declared a disaster area, businesses of any size and private, non-profit organizations may apply to the SBA for low-interest loans of up to $2 million to repair or replace damages resulting from a disaster. So far this year, the SBA has provided over $20.1 million in disaster loans for areas of Missouri hit by severe storms, including $15.4 million in disaster loans for property and business loses as a result of the devastating tornado that hit Joplin last month.

Even if a small business does not experience property damage in a disaster, a small business owner or nonprofit organization may apply for a working capital loan from the SBA if it experiences economic injury from a disaster.

On Sunday, McCaskill will tour flood damaged areas and meet with local officials and business owners who are planning for how to recover.

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling SBA toll-free at (800) 659-2955, emailing, or visiting SBA’s Website. Hearing impaired individuals may call (800) 877-8339.

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