Disaster loan program reopens for small businesses

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA's) Web site, www.sba.gov, if any Gulf Coast small-business owners missed the opportunity to apply for SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) during the 2005 hurricane season, they have another chance to apply.

On May 25, President Bush signed a bill that allows SBA to offer EIDLs to small-business owners in the Gulf Coast region who “suffered economic injury” after the 2005 hurricanes. The loans are only applicable for companies that were operating when Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma hit the area.

The loans have a cap of $1.5 million at a 4 percent interest rate for up to 30 years; if businesses received EIDLs during the previous application period, that amount will count toward the overall cap. EIDLs only are available for small businesses to help cover ordinary expenses they can no longer cover themselves.

"The widespread devastation caused by these storms continues to affect the economic recovery of the region," says SBA Administrator Steven Preston. "Small businesses are the solid foundation that will support the revitalization of the Gulf Coast, and these disaster loans will give business owners the capital needed to thrive again."

EIDLs are available for pre-existing small businesses located in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas counties and parishes declared disaster areas after the hurricanes. These states and regions can apply for EIDLs until Dec. 31, 2007.

For a list of declared counties and parishes or to download an application, visit www.sba.gov. Small businesses also can contact SBA's Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Date : 7/9/2007