Business owners have until Oct. 31 to apply for Small Business Administration disaster assistance loans for property damage sustained as a result of Hurricane Irene, but agency spokeswoman Kathy Cook said few in New Jersey have filled out the forms.
As of Monday, the SBA had issued 9,205 disaster business loan applications, and received 382 back, Cook said. So far, 56 have been approved for a total of $6.1 million in low-interest loans.
“There’s a lot of people who said they’ve had damage, but they don’t want to fill out the application,” Cook said. “From going to a lot of the town hall meetings, I think there is a lot of reluctance to borrow. I think people have already been economically impacted before the disaster, and there are a few waiting for insurance to settle before they apply — which we encourage them not to do, because there’s a deadline coming up.
“The others just don’t recognize that the impact that getting additional funds can have, in terms of accelerating their recovery,” Cook said.
According to Jersey City-based Verisk Analytics, New Jersey was one of three states to sustain more than $500 million of insured property damage from Hurricane Irene, with New York and North Carolina being the other two. Monmouth County alone had an estimated $150 million of insured property damage.
Cook, who covers everything east of the Mississippi River, said she’s seen slower disaster aid requests all over the country, because “people and businesses have been economically depressed for a long time.”
Applications for working capital loans through the economic injury program are due May 31, 2012.