Low-Cost Loans Available For Am. Samoa Disaster Recovery

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Small Business Administration has funds for NGOs

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Sept. 18, 2014) – Following President Obama’s disaster declaration, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is making low-interest federal disaster loans available to certain private, nonprofit organizations (PNPs) in American Samoa.

Obama’s declaration followed a request by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga after Tutuila was hit with severe storms, flooding, and landslides between July 29-Aug. 3, 2014. The storm caused damage in excess of $5 million.

Among the federal assistance requested by Lolo are disaster loans from the Small Business Administration.

In a news release late last week, Maria Contreras-Sweet, the SBA administrator, announced the availability of low-interest loans, saying that PNPs that provide essential services of a governmental nature are eligible for assistance.

SBA says PNP organizations in the territory should contact local Homeland Security Department deputy director, Jacinta Brown at 699-0411 to obtain information about applicant briefings, and at the briefings PNP representatives will need to provide information about their organization.

SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West director Tanya N. Garfield said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will use that information provided during the briefings to determine if the PNP provides an "essential governmental service" and is a "critical facility" as defined by federal law.

"If so, FEMA may provide the PNP with a Public Assistance grant for their eligible costs. If not, FEMA may refer the PNP to SBA for disaster loan assistance," Garfield said.

SBA says it may lend PNPs up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory, and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

For certain private, nonprofit organizations of any size, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. EIDLs may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the nonprofit suffered any property damage.

According to the SBA, the interest rate is 2.625% with terms up to 30 years and the filing deadline to return applications for property damage is Nov. 10, 2014. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 10, 2015.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela

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