CHINATOWN — Small businesses, renters and homeowners impacted by Hurricane Sandy now have until the end of the year to apply for federal disaster-related loans.
A new law enacted late last year has reopened the U.S. Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program, Rep. Nydia Velázquez and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet announced in Chinatown and Red Hook Thursday.
“While we have made significant progress in our recovery, many businesses and homeowners continue feeling economic and physical damages inflicted by Sandy,” Velázquez said in a statement.
“By reopening the SBA’s disaster loan program and encouraging more businesses to apply, we can help our communities fully heal from this historic catastrophe.”
Velázquez authored a bill last year to reopen the program, which closed in July 2013, saying many were discouraged by the tedious and lengthy process.
Under the new law, New Yorkers with unmet financial need can apply — or reapply if they previously gave up on the process — for loans until Dec. 1, 2016.
Residents can receive up to $40,000 to replace personal belongings and up to $200,000 to repair physical damage. Businesses and nonprofits are eligible for up to $2 million, according to officials.
The SBA has also been working to reduce processing times for the applications. It had been previously taking an average of 45 days to give its final decision to businesses after receiving an application — more than double its 21-day benchmark.
The average time has gone down to 11 days for businesses and eight days for homeowners, said Contreras-Sweet in a statement.
For more information about the loans, visit the SBA’s website.