The U.S. Small Business Administration, a federal agency that has awarded billions of dollars in COVID-relief to New Jersey businesses since March last year, said on Sept. 7 that it is now rolling out federal relief for businesses hammered by Hurricane Ida.
Businesses and nonprofits can borrow up to $2 million in low-interest loans through the SBA, which owners can use to pay for storm-damaged property and machinery, equipment, inventory, and any other physical damage suffered from the storm. The loans are only available to the six counties affected by President Joe Biden’s emergency declaration – Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Passaic and Somerset.
State and local officials, and several of New Jersey’s congressional Democrats, have condemned the decision to only extend the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to just those six counties.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, for example, estimated $35 million in infrastructure damage alone from Ida in the Hudson County city. “This is just the estimate for damage to city infrastructure [and] not including millions in personal damage to homes/businesses,” he tweeted on Sept. 6.
Our preliminary estimate for damage to #JerseyCity infrastructure from Ida is $35M. This is just the estimate for damage to city infrastructure + not including millions in personal damage to homes/businesses. We’ll continue to push for the federal help JC should be included on
— Steven Fulop (@StevenFulop) September 6, 2021
Employers in those nearby counties that nonetheless suffered major damage from Ida, including Hudson, Essex, Morris and Union, have to apply for another federal relief program called the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, the federal agency said.
“The SBA is strongly committed to providing New Jersey residents with the most effective response possible to assist businesses, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” reads a Sept. 7 statement from SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority.”
Under the Ida-relief loans, businesses can get a 20% increase on their loan to cover expenses for mitigating future floods and hazardous weather, such as retaining walls, sump pumps and elevation. Loans last up to 30 years, with interest rates starting at 2.855% for businesses and 2% for nonprofits.
Homeowners could borrow up to $200,000 for repairs, while renters could borrow up to $40,000 for other personal property damaged by the storm. For both of them, interest rates start at 1.563%.
Small biz owners impacted by Ida: please remember to document your damages and repairs/expenses as best you can. Pictures, receipts etc. It will help with insurance *and* any assistance programs.
— Tim Sullivan (@timsullivan510) September 2, 2021
“Small biz owners impacted by Ida: please remember to document your damages and repairs/expenses as best you can. Pictures, receipts, etc,” Tim Sullivan, who heads the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, tweeted on Sept. 2. “It will help with insurance *and* any assistance programs.”
That state agency is poised to approve a $10 million pot of grant-funding on Wednesday for businesses that have suffered losses from Ida.