The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Monday it will open a Business Recovery Center in Tampa, with operations starting at 9 a.m. at the Chloe Coney Urban Enterprise Center.
The recovery center will provide one-on-one assistance to businesses impacted by Hurricane Ian, including guidance on how to submit a disaster loan application. The Tampa center is the first of many Business Recovery Centers that will open in the affected counties. The center will remain open until further notice.
“Our Business Recovery Centers are one of the most powerful resources at SBA’s disposal to support business owners in the midst of a disaster,” associate administrator of the Office of Disaster Assistance Francisco Sanchez Jr. said in a statement.
“Business owners can meet in person with our specialists to apply for SBA disaster loans and get information on the full breadth of our programs designed to help them navigate their recovery.”
Businesses and private nonprofit organizations are able to borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets — categorized as an SBA Physical Injury Disaster Loan.
Applicants may also be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20% of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA, for future mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, elevation, retaining walls, and landscaping to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.
The SBA also offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster for small businesses and nonprofits. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
The counties eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA include Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Seminole counties, which are FEMA disaster-declared counties.
Additional counties that are eligible for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans include Brevard, Broward, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Pasco, Sumter and Volusia counties.
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app.
In addition to the recent SBA Recovery Center, Gov. Ron DeSantis has also waived several requirements to receive unemployment aid for Floridians affected by Hurricane Ian, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced Sunday. The waiver applies to those in FEMA disaster-declared counties.
The hurricane became the fifth most powerful to ever hit the U.S. after leveling Fort Myers and Sarasota areas, leaving nearly 2.7 million people without power and claiming the lives of 88 Floridians so far.