The waters of Pacheco Creek rose slowly with steady rains throughout the week, then rapidly engulfed homes on Lovers Lane as a Jan. 9 downpour prompted authorities to issue an evacuation order. Photo: Chris Mora

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing disaster assistance to small businesses and persons in San Benito County that were affected by the winter storms earlier this year.

The SBA is offering low-interest loans to those who suffered damage or financial loss due to storms during the period between Dec. 27, 2022 and January 31, 2023. 

Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzaman made the announcement in a press release on Aug. 12 and the declaration will also extend to Inyo, Mariposa, Sonoma, Stanislaus and Sutter counties. 

“SBA’s mission-driven team stands ready to help California’s small businesses and residents impacted by this disaster,” Guzaman said. “We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild.”

Businesses can get loans for up to  $2 million to repair or replace damaged assets or property. The SBA is also offering Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help small businesses, agricultural cooperatives and nonprofits even if they did not suffer property damage.

Homeowners can apply for loans of up to $500,000 to make repairs to damaged property. Renters are eligible for up to $100,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property, including vehicles, according to the press release. Additionally, the SBA can help with the costs of improvement projects to help protect homes and businesses against future disasters.

Interest rates on the loans start at 2% for homeowners; 2% for private nonprofits; and 3% for businesses. Interest does not begin to accrue until 12 months after the loan is given and the first payment is not due until after the first 12 months.

The SBA has set up a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center to assist businesses, renters and homeowners with the application process. 

Applicants can call or email at 916.735.1512, Monday through Friday 8am-4:30pm.

They can also email at [email protected]

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