SBA opens business recovery center in hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN — The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the creation of a business recovery center in Puerto Rico to aid local businesses in the island’s recovery efforts from the devastating Hurricane María, which made its passage last week.
The center, located in San Juan’s Convention Center–which is currently serving as the government’s command center–will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
With a $74 billion public debt load, the Category 4 storm further aggravated Puerto Rico’s decade-old economic recession, leaving most of the island’s businesses unable to operate over lack of electricity and/or water services in most areas, as well as infrastructural damage and debris. In order to assist these businesses, SBA representatives will provide information about disaster loans for physical damage and working capital, and offer assistance in the application process.
“The SBA is committed to facilitating economic recover in this disaster. We want area businesses to have a resource where they can meet individually with SBA representatives and find out how a low-interest disaster loan could help them recover,” the director of SBA’s Field Operations Center in Atlanta, Frank Biggs, affirmed in a written statement.
To be considered for all forms of financial assistance, applicants should register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, or on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mobile app. Meanwhile, loan applications can be downloaded from www.sba.gov, which when completed should be returned to the recovery center or mailed to the Administration’s Processing and Disbursement Center in Texas.
The deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Nov. 8 for Hurricane Irma, which passed the island two weeks prior to María, and Nov. 20 for the latter. Moreover, the deadline for economic injury applications is June 11 for Irma and June 20 for María.
For more information about the SBA’s Recovery Loan Program, visit www.sba.gov/disaster.