Administrator Linda McMahon of the U.S. Small Business Administration (US-SBA) issued the following statement after the announcement of the presidential disaster declaration for Saint John and Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands affected by Hurricane Irma beginning on Sept. 6:
“The U.S. Small Business Administration is strongly committed to providing the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans. Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”
The disaster declaration covers Saint John and Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.
Businesses and nonprofits can apply for up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other business assets. Loans for working capital, known as Economic Injury Disaster Loans, are available even if the business did not suffer any physical damage.
Homeowners can apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged real estate. Homeowners and renters can apply for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property including automobiles.
Interest rates are as low as 3.305 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 1.75 percent for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA customizes loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s circumstances.
Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may now include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at http://FirstBank has opened its Port of Sale branch and Tutu branch from 1-4 p.m. on weekdays. Scotiabank will be open from 1 – 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 13, on weekdays. Banking hours are subject to the curfew schedule imposed because of Hurricane Irma. The V.I. Banking Board encourages consumers to contact their individual banks to learn of any extended hours in the future. St. Croix banks are operating at their usual hours.
For further information on banking and insurance matters, contact the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Division of Banking, Insurance and Financial Regulation on St. Croix at 773-6459.
www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by mobile device at www.m.fema.gov. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362. (800-462-7585 TTY.
The SBA offers several ways to apply for a disaster loan: online application via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela; visit a recovery center for one-one-one assistance; or download an application from www.sba.gov/disaster.
For more information or to request application forms, call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or send an e-mail to [email protected].
Completed applications should be returned to a recovery center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas, 76155.
The filing deadline to submit applications for physical property damage is Nov. 6, 2017. The deadline for economic injury applications is June 7, 2018.