Brooklyn Boro

Velázquez, SBA Administrator announce loans for Sandy survivors

January 22, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez. Photo courtesy of Velazquez’s Office

$3.4 Million in Loans Made to New Yorkers in December, January

U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-North Brooklyn-Northwest Brooklyn-Manhattan) was joined Thursday by U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet at two events in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The two officials announced that SBA disaster loans are once again available for businesses, renters and homeowners affected by Superstorm Sandy.  

The program originally stopped taking applications in July of 2013, but many businesses and homeowners did not apply for help because of lengthy processing and other bureaucratic hurdles. Because of the new law, H.R. 208, introduced by Velazquez and enacted in November, New Yorkers who have an unmet financial need as a result of Superstorm Sandy now have until Dec. 1, 2016 to apply for a disaster loan.  

“While we have made significant progress in our recovery, many businesses and homeowners continue feeling economic and physical damages inflicted by Sandy,” Velázquez said. “By reopening the SBA’s disaster loan program and encouraging more businesses to apply, we can help our communities fully heal from this historic catastrophe.

Contreras-Sweet said, “The additional time for businesses, homeowners and renters to request federal disaster loans will go a long way in continuing to support the rebuilding efforts of the communities affected by Superstorm Sandy. I was pleased to join Rep. Velazquez in her district today to make sure those impacted by this disaster take advantage of this expanded opportunity. 

“To date, the agency has received more than 1,000 applications. We have improved processing time on applications and, on average, provide a disaster loan decision in eight days and cash disbursement on average five days after receipt of loan-closing documents. To date, we have approved $2.5 billion in loan assistance to more than 37,000 individuals and businesses affected by Sandy.”

During the events in Chinatown and Red Hook, it was announced that $3.4 million have already been lent to local businesses and homeowners since the program reopened in December. The SBA has also been working to reduce processing times for disaster aid and applications, with the average time now down to 11 days for businesses and eight days for homeowners. Immediately after Sandy, a Government Accountability Office report requested by Velázquez found SBA was taking as long as 45 days to approve or deny some loan applications.

“It is important New Yorkers know these resources are available,” Velázquez added. “If you are a business owner, renter or homeowner who gave up on the process previously, I suggest you reapply for assistance this year to be made whole.”

Under the SBA’s disaster loan program, renters, homeowners, businesses and nonprofits are all eligible to apply. Residents can receive up to $200,000 to repair physical damage and $40,000 to replace personal belongings. Businesses and nonprofits are eligible for up to $2 million. More information on the SBA’s loan program can be found on the SBA’s website at https://www.sba.gov/loans-grants/see-what-sba-offers/sba-loan-programs/disaster.

“The faster our businesses recover, the more quickly our city’s economy will fully come back from Sandy,” Velázquez said.