12.16.14

SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND, HIGGINS, COLLINS, REED ANNOUNCE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION HAS ISSUED DISASTER DECLARATION FOR 6 WNY COUNTIES DEVASTATED BY NOVEMBER SNOWSTORM

Schumer, Gillibrand, Higgins, Collins, Reed Wrote to SBA Urging Fed Agency To Assess the Damage & Be Ready To Act On a Disaster Declaration To Assist WNY Homeowners, Renters & Businesses Dealing with the Aftermath of Massive Snowstorm

Now, Erie, Cattaraugus, Niagara, Chautauqua, Wyoming & Genesee Counties Will Be Immediately Eligible for SBA Loans to Help Recover From Severe Damage To Many Homes & Businesses, Including Special Low-Interest Disaster Loans


Schumer, Gillibrand, Higgins, Collins, Reed: SBA Support for WNY Homeowners, Renters, Businesses Damaged By Historic Snowfall is Critical

 

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representatives Brian Higgins, Chris Collins, and Tom Reed announced that the Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved primary and contiguous physical disaster designations for six Western New York counties, due to losses caused by excessive snow, flooding, freeze, and high winds that occurred from November 19 through November 26, 2014.  The SBA disaster declaration will apply for the following counties: Erie, Cattaraugus, Niagara, Chautauqua, Wyoming and Genesee Counties. This declaration will officially make homeowners, renters and businesses in these six counties eligible for special low-interest disaster loans. These six counties were deemed eligible for SBA loans because they reached a specific damage threshold – physical damage to at least 25 homes or business structures in excess of 40 percent of the uninsured value. SBA will now offer low-interest loans to renters, homeowners, and businesses to repair or replace household and business items. In November, following the storm, Schumer, Gillibrand, Higgins, Collins, and Reed urged the SBA to assess damage and be ready to issue this declaration so that emergency loans could be made available to the homeowners, renters and local businesses that suffered as a result of this historic November snowstorm.

 

“Many communities across Western New York were devastated by last month’s snowstorm, and residents and business owners are still recovering from some of the worst snow they have ever faced. That is why these disaster loans through the Small Business Administration are so important. With this designation, Erie, Cattaraugus, Niagara, Chautauqua, Wyoming and Genesee Counties will be provided the support they need to recover and rebuild after this severe weather,” said Senator Schumer. “These disaster loans represent a light at the end of the tunnel for those who were affected by the historic snowstorm in Western New York, and I applaud the SBA for swiftly coming through with this disaster designation for the sake of homeowners, renters and businesses throughout the region.”

 

"The SBA disaster declaration is welcome relief for the many businesses, homeowners, and renters across Western New York that were hurt by the unprecedented November lake effect storm,” said Senator Gillibrand. “When I toured the region in the days after the storm, I saw businesses and residences with collapsed roofs, crushed walls, and broken glass; the funds that will now be available with this SBA disaster declaration will give the region a significant boost in its recovery efforts.”

 

“Local businesses and employees took a hit in the November storm, with record breaking snow responsible for lost business and economic activity in our region,” said Congressman Higgins. “Disaster loans provided through the Small Business Administration are a critical bridge for businesses and will provide needed assistance to help these companies and their employees recover.”

 

“Hundreds of small businesses in Western New York were unable to operate during the historic weather disaster that hit our community,” saidCongressman Collins. “I understand the catastrophic impact an unforeseen weather event can have on a business. These disaster loans will provide businesses and their owners the critical relief they desperately need to stay open.”

 

“Providing relief for the communities impacted by the devastating storms is the fair thing to do to care for our constituents,” Congressman Tom Reedsaid. “This assistance will help get residents and businesses in the area back on their feet quickly so we can move forward.”

 

On November 19, New York declared a state of emergency for ten counties in advance of the severe snowstorm which ended up causing nearly $50 million in damage to Western New York and the North Country. Areas in South Buffalo and the surrounding communities received a historic seven feet of snow. The storm caused damage to many businesses’ and residents’ property, including some roofs that caved in under the weight of the snow. This damage is all in addition to the economic injury that many small businesses suffered after being closed for a week.

 

The Senators and Congressmen explained that, with this physical disaster declaration, the SBA will be able to provide qualified recipients with low interest loans of up to $40,000 to renters and homeowners to repair or replace personal property; up to $200,000 to homeowners to repair or replace damaged homes; and up to $2 million to business owners to repair damaged businesses, or meet financial obligations that could have been met had the storm not occurred. Interest rates can be as low as 1.938 percent for homeowners, as low as 4 percent for businesses, and as low as 2.625 percent for non-profit organizations.

 

The loans available with a SBA disaster declaration are as follows:

 

Home and Personal Property Loans: Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters may also borrow up to $40,000 to replace or repair personal property that was damaged or destroyed in a disaster.

 

Business Physical Disaster Loans: Businesses and most private non-profit organizations may apply for up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged property, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery, and equipment.

 

Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private non-profit organizations may apply for up to $2 million to meet ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a result of the disaster. These loans are only available to entities that cannot provide for their own recovery from non-governmental sources. A business may receive a maximum of $2 million total from both Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Business Physical Disaster Loans.

 

The physical loan application deadline is February 13, 2015, and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan application deadline is September 15, 2015.

 

The delegation’s initial letter to the SBA Administrator is included below:

 

Dear Administrator Contreras-Sweet:

 

We write in strong support of New York State’s request for Small Business Administration disaster assistance as a result of the severe winter storm that impacted the state between November 18 and November 26, 2014.

 

On November 19, New York declared a state of emergency for ten counties in advance of the severe snowstorm which ended up causing nearly $50 million in damage to Western New York and the North Country. Areas in South Buffalo and the surrounding communities received a historic seven feet of snow. Some school districts were closed for more than a week, causing districts to use all of their yearly allotted snow days, and travel bans kept many residents home from work, many of whom will not be paid for their time away. The storm also caused damage to many businesses’ and residents’ property, including some roofs that caved in under the weight of the snow. This damage is all in addition to the economic injury that many small businesses suffered after being closed for a week.

 

It is for these reasons, in the most dire of circumstances, that we ask the SBA to approve a physical disaster declaration. Such a declaration will help members of the community rebuild and repair damages that are not fully covered by private insurance policies. SBA will be able to provide qualified recipients with low interest loans of up to $40,000 to renters and homeowners to replace personal property; up to $200,000 to homeowners to repair or replace damaged homes; and up to $2 million to business owners to repair damaged businesses, or meet financial obligations that could have been met had the storm not occurred.

 

Thank you for your immediate consideration of this disaster declaration request. The people of Western New York and the North Country cannot wait to begin applying for low-rate direct loans from the SBA as they begin the rebuilding process.

 

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