SBA aids in recovery efforts

The U.S. Small Business Administration has been assisting the people of the CNMI with their loan inquiries that would help them in their recovery efforts.

SBA provides low-interest and long-term disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private, non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters for the repairs or replacement of their uninsured or underinsured disaster damaged properties.

They also offer economic injury disaster loans for businesses that may have sustained damage to their property or whose sales were affected because of the disaster. The loans may be used as additional capital to keep the business in operation until it picks up again.

SBA Office of Disaster Assistance public information officer Cynthia Cowell told Saipan Tribune that President Trump had approved two disaster declarations in month and Super Typhoon Yutu on Saipan and Tinian last week.

She said that personnel from their Field Operations Center-West have been in the CNMI, providing assistance for residents who sustained damage during Magkhut last Sept. 10 and Yutu last Oct. 24 and 25.

“SBA is still active in the CNMI. To date we have approved $605,600 in loans and we continue to support the CNMI in its recovery efforts,” said Cowell, who added that the two disasters have two separate filing deadlines.

Businesses and residents affected by Typhoon Mangkhut have until Nov. 28, 2018, to submit their applications for property damage while economic injury applications for businesses is due by July 1, 2019.

As for Typhoon Yutu victims with property damage, both business and residents, they have until Dec. 26, 2018, to submit their loan applications while for businesses who want to avail of economic injury loans will have a July 26, 2019, deadline.

Cowell said there are no disaster recovery centers open on Saipan and Tinian, while the DRC on Rota is at Room A-1 of the Northern Marianas College instructional site in Fina Sisu Lane across the Tatachog Beach Park in Songsong.

Cowell said residents and businesses should also file their insurance claims and register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Please do not wait for insurance and FEMA to settle before applying for SBA assistance.”

“SBA may be able to get money to those affected by the typhoon sooner than insurance can be settled, and we work with FEMA and insurance providers to make certain that no double-payments occur.”

She added that it is important for residents to also understand that they should immediately submit their loan applications if FEMA referred them to SBA. “And allow SBA to process a decision. If approved, they are under no obligation to take the loan.”

“If we cannot approve a loan, we may refer them back to FEMA for further grant consideration. If a referred applicant does not complete their application, they will not remain eligible for most FEMA programs.”

Homeowners, renters, businesses, and private non-profit organizations can apply online at www.disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or visit the same website for more information.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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