Residents and businesses across the Rio Grande Valley and beyond will now be able to apply for low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration following the aftermath of Hurricane Hanna.

SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza made the announcement via news release Wednesday, indicating SBA issued the disaster declaration under its own authority and at the request of Gov. Greg Abbott, who sent the agency a letter Aug. 28.

In his correspondence, Abbott noted 34 homes and/or businesses in Hidalgo County had suffered an uninsured loss of more than 40%.

On Wednesday, he thanked the agency for its consideration after it announced it would issue the declaration for Hidalgo County and five other surrounding counties — Brooks, Cameron, Kenedy, Starr and Willacy.

“Texas thanks the U.S. Small Business Administration for providing this financial lifeline to qualifying small businesses in the Rio Grande Valley as they continue to rebuild from Hurricane Hanna,” Abbott said via news release. “We will continue to work alongside our federal partners to ensure Texans have the resources and support they need to recover from this storm.”

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.

SBA also offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help nonprofits and small businesses meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. That type of assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage, SBA officials said.

Homeowners can also apply for loans of up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. And they, along with renters, can also be eligible to receive up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.

SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

“Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA,” Carranza said.

Interest rates can be as low as 3% for businesses, 2.75% for private nonprofit organizations and 1.25% for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. SBA sets the loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s financial condition.

This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the communication between those who are applying and SBA staff will likely take place virtually.

“In consideration of the public health concerns due to the Coronavirus pandemic, SBA has established a Virtual Business Recovery Center to provide personalized assistance to business owners,” the release stated. “In addition, SBA has also opened a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center to help homeowners and renters.”

Customer service representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each person complete their electronic loan application.

To apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information or download applications, visit https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information.

The deadline to apply for property damage is Oct. 30. The deadline to apply for economic injury is June 1, 2021.

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Virtual Business Recovery Center &
Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center
Monday – Sunday
7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
FOCWAssistance@sba.gov
(800) 659-2955