North Fork business owners and others impacted by Hurricane Sandy have just one week left to secure a disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The deadline to apply for the 30-year loans of up to $2 million is March 29, SBA officials said.
“The loans can serve as bridge money for business owners fighting it out with their insurance companies,” said SBA spokesman John Oliver Frederick.
The loans are not limited to people whose businesses suffered physical damage. Economic injury loans are available to those who saw a decline in business as a direct result of the storm and the deadline for those loans is June 30. Mr. Frederick has been making his way around the North Fork this week, speaking with farm and vineyard owners who suffered both physical and economic damages.
“I’ve had vineyard owners telling me business is down 25, 30 percent this winter,” he said. “An economic injury loan can help mitigate that.”
Interest rates on the loans for small businesses are between 4 and 6 percent, and as low as 3 percent for nonprofits.
The SBA also offers home disaster loans of up to $200,000 for homeowners or renters who had to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate or personal property. Interest rates on the home disaster loans range from 1.7 to 3.4 percent.
More than $1.2 billion in federal disaster assistance was approved for Sandy victims in New York, including $61 million dedicated for Suffolk County, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Of the seven counties receiving disaster aid, Suffolk was awarded the fifth most. Nassau County topped the list at $269 million, FEMA officials said.
North Fork residents and business owners interested in applying for a loan can do so online at sba.gov. For more information call (800) 659-2955. To meet with an SBA representative, business recovery centers have been set up at Islip Town Hall and Copiague Public Library.