The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved a request to declare a disaster in Berks and Philadelphia counties after Tropical Storm Isaias caused devastating flooding and significant damage in early August.
Homeowners, renters and businesses impacted by the flooding in Berks and Philadelphia counties, as well as the neighboring counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Schuylkill may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans through the SBA Disaster Loan Programs.
Low-interest loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners and renters to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, and SBA regulations also permit loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property, including vehicles.
Businesses and nonprofits can borrow up to $2 million to restore damaged or destroyed buildings, inventory, equipment and other physical losses. Economic Injury Disaster Loans are also available and may also be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, whether or not the business sustained physical damage from the storm.
SBA offers long-term repayment options to keep payments affordable, with terms up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
Due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, the SBA will not establish a physical Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) in these communities to assist applicants. However, SBA has opened a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center (VDLOC) to help survivors apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website.
Virtual customer support representatives will be available to assist applicants with completing the online application Monday – Sunday (7 days per week), 8am to 8pm, closed Thursday, December 24 and Friday, December 25 in observance of the holiday. Email FOCE-Help@sba.gov, or call (800) 659-2955.
Businesses and individuals 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 DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.
Loan applications can also be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is February 16, 2021. The deadline to return economic injury disaster loan applications is September 21, 2021.