West Reading businesses impacted by R.M. Palmer factory explosion eligible for disaster loan assistance

Declaration gives affected small businesses access to low-interest loans.

Governor Josh Shapiro announced Thursday that the U.S. Small Business Administration has granted an administrative declaration of a disaster for the businesses impacted by the R.M. Palmer factory explosion in West Reading, PA.

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides low-interest loans for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private nonprofit organizations. The SBA can provide up to $2 million to help businesses meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred. The SBA tailors the repayment of each disaster loan to the borrower’s financial capability.

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At least five small businesses in the disaster area have sustained substantial economic injury as a result of the disaster and will be eligible to seek financial assistance.

“I was in West Reading meeting with local officials and community members immediately following the factory explosion, and I promised that my Administration would be there for the long-term to help them recover and rebuild,” said Governor Shapiro.

“That’s why we worked with the federal government to open up access to these low-interest loans, so that businesses can recoup unforeseen losses and ensure West Reading remains a vibrant city. My heart goes out to the people impacted by this tragedy, and the Shapiro Administration will continue to provide the resources and support West Reading needs.”

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Following the explosion, Governor Shapiro deployed the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania State Police to support emergency response, search, and rescue efforts. The Governor visited the site of the explosion the following day, and his Administration been in close contact with officials in West Reading since the beginning of the incident.

Governor Shapiro wrote a letter to the SBA requesting disaster loan assistance following information provided by PEMA, who worked with Berks County to conduct sample surveys of the affected businesses to determine the economic impact of the disaster.

Loan applications will be made available online or by mail. For additional information on low-interest SBA loans or the application process, click here.

“I commend Gov. Shapiro and his team for making this additional assistance available to West Reading businesses who are still experiencing financial hardship,” said State Sen. Judy Schwank. “This assistance might not have been made available without the Governor’s personal involvement, concern and follow-through.”

Schwank emphasized that her office will continue to assist businesses and constituents recovering from the blast.

“My staff and I continue to be available to assist residents and small businesses impacted by the tragic events of March 24 in accessing all state, local and private resources they may need,” said Schwank. “The overwhelming outpouring of support West Reading received from Berks County and all over the commonwealth shows what can be accomplished when we come together to help our neighbors when an unexpected tragedy strikes.”

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Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly is an independent and locally owned digital newspaper covering the City of Reading and Berks County. Subscribe today: berksweekly.com/subscribe
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