Deadline approaches for hurricane aid

Published 11:23 pm Friday, December 23, 2016

A deadline for Hurricane Matthew victims to apply for assistance is coming up soon, and the U.S. Small Business Administration wants to ensure everyone knows about it.

The filing deadline is Jan. 3, or Jan. 17 for private nonprofits, according to public affairs specialist Tamim Choudhury.

“Your insurance settlement, we’ve seen oftentimes, is not enough,” he said. “These loans fill in the gap. It’s just an option you have.”


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The loans are available not only to small businesses, Choudhury said, but also to homeowners, renters, private nonprofit organizations and businesses of all sizes.

Loans are available to homeowners or renters to repair or replace real estate or personal property, including automobiles, damaged by the hurricane.

Businesses and nonprofit organizations are able to get loans to repair or replace property damaged by the hurricane, including real estate, inventory, supplies, machinery and equipment.

So far, 18 loans have been approved in Suffolk for a total of $642,000, Choudhury said.

Choudhury encouraged anyone who suffered damage to apply. An approval does not necessarily mean they have to take out the loan, he said.

“You have nothing to lose to apply,” he said. “It’s just an extra additional option. You can always refuse the loan.”

The loans are subsidized, meaning they will cost less than average, market-value loans, Choudhury said. Applicants have to have a suitable credit history and the ability to repay the loans. Collateral is required for some loans over $25,000.

Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 for the residence and up to $40,000 for personal property. Businesses can borrow up to $2 million.

“It doesn’t cost you anything to apply for this loan,” Choudhury said.

Across the state, 347 loans have been approved for a total of $11.92 million since Hurricane Matthew, Choudhury said.