SBA opens loans for Gilchrist, Dixie storm damage

Businesses and non-profit organizations can apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans as a result of damages caused by July's Tropical Storm Elsa.
Businesses and non-profit organizations can apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans as a result of damages caused by July's Tropical Storm Elsa.

Eligible businesses and nonprofit organizations in Dixie and Gilchrist counties can now apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) after the program opened last week as a result of damages by Tropical Storm Elsa in July.

And, under the rules of the loan program, affected groups in Alachua, Columbia, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee and Taylor counties can apply as well.

According to a press release from SBA, the loan program is for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations that suffered direct financial losses because of Tropical Storm Elsa on July 7 and 8.

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“When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to eligible entities, affected by the same disaster,” Kem Fleming, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East, said in the press release.

The release also specified that besides aquaculture organizations, the SBA loan program doesn’t cover agricultural producers, farmers or ranchers.

The program can provide a max loan of $2 million with terms up to 30 years. The interest rate for small businesses is 2.88 percent while nonprofits have a rate of 2 percent.

Entities can apply online through SBA’s online portal with declaration #17318. Applications are also available through the SBA’s Customer Service Center (800-659-2955 or 800-877-8339 for the deaf or hard of hearing) or by emailing DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.

Applicants have until Sept. 19, 2022, to apply.

The SBA opened other loan programs that centered on Alachua County in the wake of the storm which made landfall near Steinhatchee.

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