By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Robert Lovingood announced that the Small Business Administration will open a local office on Thursday to help homeowners, renters and businesses affected by the August Blue Cut Fire.
“Low-interest disaster loans available through the SBA will be essential for local residents to recover,” said Lovingood. “So many people have lost everything, so the SBA’s streamlined process will help get folks back on their feet.”
The Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be located at San Bernardino County Fire Station #305, 8331 Caliente Road, Hesperia, CA 92344. It will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays through Sept. 22. No appointment is necessary.
According to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster in response to a request SBA received on Sept. 1, 2016, from Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr.’s designated representative, Mark S. Ghilarducci, director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
“SBA is strongly committed to providing California with the most effective and customer-focused response possible, and we will be there to provide access to federal disaster loans to help finance recovery for businesses and residents affected by the disaster,” said Contreras-Sweet. “Getting our businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”
“Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters whose property was damaged or destroyed by this disaster,” said SBA’s Santa Ana District Director J. Adalberto Quijada. “Beginning Thursday, Sept. 8, SBA representatives will be on hand at the following Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each individual complete their application,” Quijada continued.
Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage.
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.
Interest rates can be as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.563 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For more disaster assistance information or to download applications, visit https://www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The filing deadline to return applications for property damage is Nov. 7, 2016. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 6, 2017.
A spectrum of assistance is available for Blue Cut Fire victims. San Bernardino County, local United Way agencies, the American Red Cross, and a variety of community partners have been working together since the Blue Cut Fire began to provide free and easily accessible services for people who lost their homes, documents and other possessions and need temporary support. 211 has operators standing by around the clock who can link fire victims to county, state, federal and nonprofit services.
The county homepage, www.sbcounty.gov, has links to services for the homeless and information on rebuilding homes. Anyone needing assistance as a result of the fire should call 211, which has a system established to conduct an initial assessment over the phone, then have an American Red Cross case worker visit those in need within 24 hours to conduct a more in-depth assessment. From there, it can be determined what help is needed.