By Miriam Raftery
July 31, 2020 (San Diego) -- Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to help small businesses across San Diego County that were affected by civil unrest which began May 26, 2020, if they do not have the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.
The Small Business Administration Economic Disaster Loans can be up to $2 million and help meet financial obligations and operating expenses, such as payroll or fixed debts, that could have been met had the civil unrest not occurred. The loans are not intended to cover losses from property damage, nor is it general COVID-19 related assistance.
The action could aid some businesses in East County as well as elsewhere in the region. In La Mesa, dozens of businesses suffered from looting and vandalism following protests over racial justice and police use of force. Two banks and the historic Randall Lamb building burned to the ground in downtown La Mesa. Businesses in Santee, La Mesa and El Cajon boarded up and closed early on some days when protests were anticipated, losing revenues.
“These loans can be a critical first step for affected businesses, and we encourage anyone eligible to apply,” said Jeff Toney, director of the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services.
The deadline to apply for the loans is April 7, 2021. Completed applications can be mailed to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The disaster loans will have an interest rate of 3% for small businesses and 2.75% for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years.
Businesses may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/. Applicants can also call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339.
Due to COVID-19, there will only be a Virtual Business Recovery Center available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays at FOCWAssistance@sba.gov and (916) 735-1500. The SBA will be available to answer questions, explain the application process and help individuals complete their electronic loan application.