Governor Josh Shapiro announced Monday that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has granted an administrative declaration of a disaster, making loans available for businesses and homeowners impacted by July flooding in Berks County. Impacted residents in the surrounding counties of Chester, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery and Schuylkill may also be eligible for assistance.
“I was in Berks County meeting with local officials and community members immediately following the flooding, and I promised that my Administration would be there to help them recover and rebuild,” said Governor Shapiro. “That’s why we worked with our partners in the federal government to open up access to these low-interest loans, so that businesses and homeowners can recoup unforeseen losses. My Administration will continue to work alongside our local and federal partners to help Berks County recover from the flooding.”
“Our community was unfortunately struck with devastating flooding early this summer and is still recovering from its impact. That’s why I called for federal assistance for Berks residents to have the support they need to get back on their feet,” said Rep. Chrissy Houlahan. “I’m thankful SBA has heeded Governor Shapiro’s and my calls for assistance and will grant homeowners and small business owners in southeastern Pennsylvania low-interest loans. This is essential for their recovery and to help keep our vibrant small businesses alive. My office remains committed to working hand-in-hand with federal and state agencies to provide relief to our constituents.”
Following the flooding in July, Governor Shapiro visited Berks County to offer his support, survey the damage, and meet with local officials to discuss recovery efforts. The Shapiro Administration been in close contact with officials in Berks County since the beginning of the incident.
Governor Shapiro directed PennDOT to clear roads and bridges as safely and quickly as possible, partnered with the county to set up a multi-agency resource center, and directed the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to work with the local school district to ensure they’ll be able to meet education standards this year and educate kids safely.
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 to determine the economic impact of the disaster.
The following types of loans are available:
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) 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 term of each disaster loan to the borrower’s financial capability.
The SBA’s Business Physical Disaster Loans can help businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.
The SBA’s Home Disaster Loans can help homeowners or renters repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles.
The SBA will open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) in Reading, PA to assist businesses and homeowners in person: Albright College Roessner Hall 1940 North 13th Street, Reading, PA 19604.
The DLOC will open to the public Tuesday, Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Standard hours of operation will be Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The DLOC will be closed on Sundays and Monday, Oct. 9 in observance of the Columbus Day holiday. The DLOC end operations on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 4 p.m.
Loan applications will also be made available online or by mail. For additional information on low-interest SBA loans or the application process, click here.