Business

Small Business Administration offers disaster assistance to Washington small businesses

The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest working capital federal loans to small businesses economically impacted by the historic building fire in the City of Seattle International District that occurred on December 24, 2013, SBA Acting Administrator Marianne O'Brien Markowitz said.

SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster following a request received on April 1, 2014 from Gov. Jay Inslee.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in the primary county of King and the neighboring counties of Chelan, Kitsap, Kittitas, Pierce, Snohomish and Yakima.

"The U. S. Small Business Administration is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist Washington's small businesses with federal disaster loans.  We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of this disaster," said Markowitz.

"Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred," said SBA's Seattle District Director Nancy Porzio.

"These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can't be paid because of the disaster's impact.  Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing," Porzio added.

Eligibility is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage.  These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for small businesses and 2.625 percent for private, nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years, and are restricted to small businesses without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

Applicants may apply online using SBA's secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

The Washington Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are offering free, personalized counseling to help affected small business owners in their recovery.  Business owners may contact the Washington SBDC from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday at (509) 358-7765.

For owners of these impacted small businesses, disaster loan information and applications are available from SBA by calling SBA at (800) 659‑2955 or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.  Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339.  For more information about SBA's disaster assistance programs, visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster.

The filing deadline to return economic injury applications is January 5, 2015.

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