The administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration is in storm-wrecked Cedar Rapids today, surveying the damage from the derecho 15 days ago and offering a financial lifeline.
Jovita Carranza is touring the Czech Village area of Iowa’s second-largest city, seeing for herself the severe impact of record winds up to 140 miles-an-hour. Carranza says, “I’m here to provide information concerning the funding that SBA provides not only to small businesses but also, under these types of disasters, to homeowners and renters.”
Businesses of any size and non-profits impacted by the storm can apply for low-interest loans through the SBA of up to $2 million for repairs and recovery. While the agency’s name puts the focus on small businesses, she emphasizes that homeowners and renters can also benefit by logging on to SBA.gov.
“SBA has always provided disaster loans up to $200,000 that are available to homeowners and that’s so that they can repair or replace a primary residence,” Carranza says. “Remember, our objective is for total recovery of the local economy.” Homeowners and renters can also apply for loans of up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property lost in the derecho.
The SBA’s Economic Injury loans are available to Iowans in eight counties: Benton, Buchanan, Cedar, Delaware, Iowa, Jones, Johnson and Linn. More counties may still be added. In addition to coping with this natural disaster, Iowans are also still in the midst of the pandemic, for which the federal government has already injected significant financial aid to the state.
“Under the COVID disaster, we were able to provide close to one-billion dollars of support to 16,000 small businesses,” Carranza says, “so the recovery for derecho is with the same urgency, with the same rapid response.” Carranza is being joined by Governor Kim Reynolds in Cedar Rapids today, meeting with community leaders, business owners and homeowners — one-on-one and in town hall settings.
To apply, Iowans can log on to https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ or call (800) 659-2955. The deadline to apply for property damage is October 19th, while the deadline to apply for economic injury is May 20th of 2021.