The Biden administration approved 4,165 loans to homeowners and renters totaling nearly $188 million, and 286 loans to businesses and nonprofits totaling $18.8 million, according to figures from the U.S Small Business Administration.
Officials set a deadline of Jan. 5 for businesses and residents to apply for SBA loans, which are only available to businesses, homeowners and renters in Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union counties.
Loans of up to $2 million are available for businesses and non-profits to replace real estate, machinery, equipment and inventory. Homeowners can borrow $200,000 to repair or replace Ida-damaged real estate and homeowners and renters can apply for up to $40,000 loans to replace property lost or damaged by the storm.
Interest rates start at 2.855% for businesses, 2% for nonprofits, and 1.563% for homeowners, with repayment terms up to 30 years. Borrowers in neighboring counties – Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Monmouth, Salem and Sussex – are only eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which cover the economic and financial disruption stemming from Ida, but not physical damage.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency – which provided grants to storm victims – has referred 63,720 homeowners and renters to the SBA disaster loans, but only 7,950 applications have been submitted, FEMA said.
While recovery from Ida is a crucial facet of the disaster-relief loans, SBA officials said funds can also be used to prevent or reduce property damage from future storms.
“Climate change is not some far off prospect; it is here now, and its impacts on New Jersey communities will only worsen,” Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said in May.
In communities such as Hoboken, which were devastated by Superstorm Sandy floodwaters nearly a decade ago, state, local and federal officials are implementing a resiliency project that would help divert floodwaters from the city.
Other proposals include an elaborate network of floodgates and other barriers which would cost $16 billion and shield the Jersey Shore and its back bays from major storms amid rising sea levels.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]