Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the U.S. Small Business Administration has granted the Governor’s request for a Physical Disaster Declaration for counties most impacted by the significant lake effect snow storm and flooding that occurred Western New York from November 19 - 26, 2014. The federal declaration makes available various forms of financial assistance to homeowners, renters, small businesses and nonprofits to repair or replace property damaged or destroyed as a result of the extreme weather.
“Getting residents and businesses back on their feet is the number one priority as the community continues to recover from the recent extreme weather in Western New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “I am pleased that the SBA has approved my request for relief on behalf of those hardest hit, and am committed to working with those affected to make sure every available resource is provided to help them recover and rebuild.”
The declaration is in response to a request by the Governor in a letter to the Small Business Administration last week citing more than $46.6 million in verified damages from the historic lake effect storm. A major disaster declaration for these counties is the next step in seeking financial assistance from the federal government once the $27.3 million damage threshold is met to allow local communities continue to recover. The declaration applies to Erie County, as well as the contiguous counties of Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming.
Loans up to $200,000 may be available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Economic Injury Disaster Loans up to $2 million may be available for small businesses and non-profits to provide necessary working capital until normal operations resume after a disaster. Small businesses may be eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, and business loans of up to $2 million may be available for the replacement of real estate, inventories, machinery, equipment and all other physical losses.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Executive Deputy Commissioner John Melville said, “Disaster loans from the SBA will allow victims the ability to rebuild their homes and businesses after this event. I am pleased that through the Governor’s advocacy, this avenue of assistance has been made available for citizens, non-profits and businesses in the affected areas who are struggling to rebuild after this incident.”
The SBA will open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Erie County at the Town of West Seneca Ice Rink at 1250 Union Road beginning January 7th, 2015 through January 13th. The Outreach Center will be closed on Sunday, January 11. Representatives from Small Business Administration will be on hand to assist with the application process. The Outreach Center does not take appointments and operates on a walk-in basis only.
Interest rates may be as low as 1.938 percent for homeowners and renters, 2.625 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for small businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the Small Business Administration and are based on each applicant's financial condition. Individuals and businesses may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via the Small Business Administration's secure website.
Individuals and businesses may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is February 13, 2015. The deadline to return economic injury applications is September 15, 2015.
Senator Charles Schumer said, “Many communities across Western New York were devastated by last month’s snowstorm, and residents and business owners are still recovering from some of the worst snow they have ever faced. That is why these disaster loans through the Small Business Administration are so important. With this designation, Erie, Cattaraugus, Niagara, Chautauqua, Wyoming and Genesee Counties will be provided the support they need to recover and rebuild after this severe weather. These disaster loans represent a light at the end of the tunnel for those who were affected by the historic snowstorm in Western New York, and I applaud the SBA for swiftly coming through with this disaster designation for the sake of homeowners, renters and businesses throughout the region.”
Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Local businesses and employees took a hit in the November storm, with record breaking snow responsible for lost business and economic activity in our region. Disaster loans provided through the Small Business Administration are a critical bridge for businesses and will provide needed assistance to help these companies and their employees recover.”
Congressman Tom Reed said, “I thank the SBA for its timely response in our hour of need. It’s only fair that Western New Yorkers get the care and assistance they need as quickly as possible this winter.”
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