Archive for the tag 'sba'

Source: sba.gov

Source: sba.gov

Did you apply for a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy only to realize that you could have received free cash months later through Community Development Block Grant recovery funds? If so, you probably think it is unfair that you have to pay back a loan to the government when your neighbor is getting a free ride.

SI Live is reporting that politicians are petitioning the SBA to forgive debts of people who took out loans that would have otherwise qualified for the Community Development Bock Grants.

A letter drafted by Congressman Michael Grimm, pleads for those caught in between the various federal bailout plans.

“For months after the storm, residents who went to FEMA for assistance were referred to the SBA to address needs that could not be met by FEMA’s individual assistance program,” Grimm wrote.

Some people were offered SBA disaster loans but declined because they worried about taking on more debt, and a recent decision by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development allows them to receive assistance under New York City’s “Build it Back” program, he wrote.

“It is critical, however, that we not overlook individuals who qualified for and accepted SBA loans because they felt they had no other options in their quest to recover,” Grimm wrote.

Grimm went on to write about the inherent unfairness of the situation.

“[I]ndividuals who acted precisely as the government suggested — use SBA loans to cover unmet disaster-related needs — are the ones who (are) being punished with additional debt.”

Well, I have to say that the situation does seem unfair. Did you qualify for an SBA loan and accept it? Do you wish you hadn’t? Let us know.

Source: Free Press Pics via Flickr

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, many business and homeowners were left with tough financial decisions as to how to rebuild their lives. Many were offered loans by the Small Business Association (SBA) but rejected them because they didn’t want to incur more debt.

Because of complex bureaucratic rules, business and homeowners who rejected the SBA loans are now being denied some resources, leading politicians like Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Michael Grimm to press the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) into changing their rules, according to a press release.

Current HUD policy now demands that the amount of approved loans, including those who didn’t even accept them in the first place, are to be counted against the potential grant amounts they are eligible for in the upcoming distribution of the Community Development Block Grants. The justification of the complex rule that Schumer and Grimm are battling against was explained in the release:

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, which comes in the form of a grant, not a loan, is intended to supplement other forms of available aid, and cover only “unmet need.” In determining the amount of “unmet need,” HUD regulations provide that any SBA loans for which a homeowner is approved are counted against the of unmet need.

The problem with this regulation is that it does not take into consideration the circumstances that might have led someone to reject a loan in the first place. Schumer expressed concern that this policy will hurt people who need it most.

“This policy will punish these homeowners and HUD should do everything in it power to make sure these individuals are eligible for additional federal assistance,” said Schumer.

Schumer’s concerns were shared by Grimm, according to SI Live.

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Wikipedia

The deadline to register for FEMA and SBA assistance is coming and this time there won’t be any more extensions, the agency warns. The final deadline is this Saturday, April 13. Below we are posting the relevant information on how to register as well as some new information on how federal assistance will affect your taxes and how to appeal a denied claim.

  • New York survivors have until April 13 to register for possible federal disaster assistance.
  • For Sandy survivors who receive assistance and file income taxes: Federal disaster aid such as grants for temporary housing, or replacement of personal property is not taxable income.
  • Survivors will not pay additional federal taxes or lose Social Security, Medicare or other government benefits because of federal disaster assistance.
  • Federal disaster assistance excluded from federal taxable income is also excluded from NY state taxable income.
  • For more information, survivors can visit the IRS’s Tax Relief in Disaster Situations page at IRS.gov and the State of New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance Hurricane Sandy relief page at tax.ny.gov.
  • Registered survivors who receive a determination letter may appeal within 60 days of the date of the last decision letter.
  • Registered survivors should respond to letters from FEMA and keep their contact information updated.
  • Survivors can register:
    • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov or download the FEMA app.
    • By calling the FEMA Helpline: 800-621-3362 (Voice, 7-1-1/Relay) or  (TTY) 800-462-7585. The line is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT, seven days a week.
    • A FEMA Language Assistance Line is available for those who need services in languages other than English or Spanish. Call: 866-333-1796.
  • April 13 is also the deadline to apply for a disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
  • State and federal officials encourage anyone affected by the disaster to register for assistance by calling toll-free:
    • 800-621-3362 (Voice 7-1-1/Relay).
    • Or TTY: 800-462-7585.
    • Register online anytime at DisasterAssistance.gov.
    • Visit m.fema.gov on your mobile phone or download the FEMA app on your smartphone or tablet.
    • Multilingual operators are available.
    • For more information on programs in several languages visit: www.fema.gov/all-languages.

If denied you can appeal

If you have registered and received a letter denying you assistance, read the entire letter carefully. The letter may ask you to supply additional information or documentation. You may send this appeal within 60 days of the date of the last decision letter. Again, read the letter carefully. Respond to any letters from FEMA and keep your contact information updated.

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Wikipedia

Every month it seems that we report on the deadlines to register for FEMA and SBA assistance and then a few days later, we learn that the deadlines have been extended another month. Well, today it has happened again.

The original deadline set for March 29 has been extended an extra 15 days until Saturday, April 13.

If you haven’t registered and are waiting for the last minute to get support, here are the relevant details.

How to register with FEMA

Individuals can register with FEMA online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone or tablet by going to m.fema.gov or by downloading the FEMA app.

Survivors can also register by calling the FEMA Helpline: 800-621-3362 (Voice, 7-1-1/Relay) or (TTY) 800-462-7585. The line is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, seven days a week until further notice.

Anyone with questions regarding the FEMA registration process, the status of their application and available disaster assistance programs is encouraged to visit a Disaster Recovery Center or contact FEMA.

To find the nearest Disaster Recovery Center, the following options are available: Text DRC and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA), and a text message will be sent back with the address. Also, the Disaster Recovery Center locator is available online atwww.FEMA.gov/disaster-recovery-centers.

SBA disaster loan application

A simple and fast way to complete the disaster loan application is online, using the SBA’s electronic loan application. Go to https://DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ELA.

SBA customer service representatives are available to issue or accept low-interest disaster loan applications and answer questions at all New York State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers and

SBA business recovery centers and Disaster Loan Outreach Centers. To locate the nearest center, visit www.sba.gov or call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).

More information is available by calling the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center toll-free number, 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339). Assistance is also available by sending an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or by visiting www.sba.gov.

For more information on New York’s disaster recovery, visitwww.fema.gov/SandyNYwww.twitter.com/FEMASandy,www.facebook.com/FEMASandy and www.fema.gov/blog.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

The Small Business Administration recently announced that it has funded over $1 billion in disaster relief loans for victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York State, touting the approval of more than 15,000 low-interest loans to help residents and business owners get back on their feet after getting slammed by the powerful late October storm.

But an analysis of loan data for five zip codes in Southern Brooklyn, an area that includes some of the hardest hit neighborhoods in New York City, shows the federal agency has funded less than 30 percent of the applications for home and business loans it has received.

Business owners in the area, and across Brooklyn, have been frustrated by what they argue is SBA’s slow response to loan requests in the aftermath of a storm that caused an estimated $20 billion in damage in the five boroughs.

And while business owners tell a different story, Andre Ledgister, a spokesman for SBA, said the agency was processing loans in an average of 21 days.

“We’re asking that everyone be patient as we process the large number of applications form this disaster,” Ledgister said, adding that SBA has approved 2,080 disaster loan applications in Brooklyn worth over $101 million. This includes nearly $68 million in loans in Southern Brooklyn.

SBA provides disaster loans to homeowners, renters, nonprofits and businesses. After Sandy, the agency sent out nearly 23,000 loan applications in the zip codes 11229, 11235, 11224, 11223 and 11214, which cover neighborhoods like Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island, Gerritsen Beach, Brighton Beach and Gravesend.

Residents and business owners in those zip codes filed 4,650 loan applications and 1,344 have been funded, for a rate of 29 percent, according to data provided to Sheepshead Bites by SBA in late February.

Alan Chavez, a spokesperson for SBA, said the agency sent out applications to “almost everybody that was damaged” by the storm, trying to cast a wide net in the badly battered neighborhoods. But Chavez said many residents and businesses in the area decided not to apply to SBA for loans.

“Some people decided not to use it,” Chavez said.

Still, among those who did apply, the funding rate was below 30 percent.

“I’m extremely disappointed in hearing those numbers,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz. “I think that SBA has extremely harsh determinations and make it extremely difficult for anyone to receive a loan from them.”

He added: “I know of storekeepers on Emmons Avenue that needed loans and didn’t apply because it was too cumbersome. And those that did jump through hoops to work with them, they are still waiting to hear from SBA.”

In the zip code 11235, SBA has received 2,108 applications and funded 456 home loans, 47 business loans and two economic injury loans, a rate of 24 percent. The loans are worth a total of $27.2 million. In 11229, SBA got 802 loan applications and funded 375 for homes and businesses, a rate of 47 percent. The loans are worth nearly $21 million.

In 11224, which covers Coney Island, SBA had received 1,468 loans applications and funded 393 for homes and businesses, a rate of about 27 percent. The approved loans in Coney Island are worth approximately $18.2 million.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a first-term Democratic congressman whose district includes Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach, credited SBA for its post-storm efforts, but said the agency needs to do more to help storm victims.

“The Small Business Administration has done the best job that they can under the enormity of the circumstances, but the nature of the disaster will require the agency to do more in the months to come,” Jeffries said.

Rick Miranda, who runs the Brooklyn Hispanic Chamber or Commerce, said SBA had been doing a good job helping businesses in the borough in the aftermath of Sandy. The Hispanic chamber is one of two organizations in Brooklyn that is certified to originate SBA loans and Miranda knows the process well. Even in normal times, without the backlog of applications Sandy generated, it can be tough to gather the paperwork needed for SBA approval. But Miranda said SBA had been responsive to his requests since Sandy, even agreeing to send more Spanish-language agents to Brooklyn to help Hispanic business owners with paperwork.

“With devastation of this magnitude, I don’t think it was negligence on behalf of the agency,” he said. “I think they’re doing the best they can.”

Still, Cymbrowitz criticized the SBA process as unresponsive to the scope of the damage Southern Brooklyn took from Sandy.

“What happens is, in order to get the loan, it had really nothing to do with the loss, but had to do with the credit of the business owner, which was never really explained to the business owner,” he said. “So the business owner, the amount of money he would receive, is really based on his credit history and not the damage he received.”

- Craig Giammona

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Wikipedia

FEMA has shown a remarkable degree of fairness in extending its deadlines to register for disaster assistance, and it actually comes as no surprise that they have done so again.

The previous deadline was set for today February 27, but has been extended another 30 days to March 29. The deadline also extends to complete and return low-interest SBA disaster loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Here are the relevant details:

How to register with FEMA

Individuals can register with FEMA online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone or tablet by going to m.fema.gov or by downloading the FEMA app.

Survivors can also register by calling the FEMA Helpline: 800-621-3362 (Voice, 7-1-1/Relay) or (TTY) 800-462-7585. The line is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, seven days a week until further notice.

Anyone with questions regarding the FEMA registration process, the status of their application and available disaster assistance programs is encouraged to visit a Disaster Recovery Center or contact FEMA.

To find the nearest Disaster Recovery Center, the following options are available: Text DRC and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA), and a text message will be sent back with the address. Also, the Disaster Recovery Center locator is available online atwww.FEMA.gov/disaster-recovery-centers.

SBA disaster loan application

A simple and fast way to complete the disaster loan application is online, using the SBA’s electronic loan application. Go to https://DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ELA.

SBA customer service representatives are available to issue or accept low-interest disaster loan applications and answer questions at all New York State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers and

SBA business recovery centers and Disaster Loan Outreach Centers. To locate the nearest center, visit www.sba.gov or call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).

More information is available by calling the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center toll-free number, 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339). Assistance is also available by sending an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov or by visiting www.sba.gov.

For more information on New York’s disaster recovery, visitwww.fema.gov/SandyNYwww.twitter.com/FEMASandy,www.facebook.com/FEMASandy and www.fema.gov/blog.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.


The celebrated and beloved Totonno’s Pizzeria (1524 Neptune Avenue) has had a rough couple years in keeping its doors open. First they were hit by a fire in 2009, and more recently they were knocked out of commission by Superstorm Sandy. Still closed months after the storm struck, owners Cookie Cimineri and Antoinette Balzano have struggled to acquire the loans needed to reopen, according to a report by Serious Eats.

(UPDATE [January 17, 2013]: Totonno’s told New York Daily News that they vow to reopen, no matter what the odds.)

Apparently, Totonno’s is the victim of bad timing when it came to the loan application process. Totonno’s is still paying off the $200,000 in loans they took on from their 2009 fire, and because of this, the NYC Business Development Corporation’s denied the pizzeria’s $25,ooo loan request.

“They have to go by the last year,” Antoinette explained to Serious Eats, speaking of financial records and the loan application process. “For the last 2 years, we’ve been paying off the $200,000 loan from the fire.”

Totonno’s also applied for a $150,000 loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA), but have yet to hear back from them.

All hope for Totonno’s hasn’t been lost yet, as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz took it upon himself to get the pizzeria’s NYCBDC loan request re-reviewed.

Still, the path to reopening Totonno’s again is not easy. Antoinette lamented to Serious Eats about her dealings with unreliable mold inspectors and contractors who are draining her money but not her will.

“The last [contractor], he was a con artist. My sister didn’t get 3 cents for 11 months. How do you live when you have bills to pay? A family to feed?Totonno’s doesn’t make a lot of money. It’s about passion.”

Here’s hoping the pizza gods do all they can to keeping the city’s best pizza coming out of the oven.

Source: sba.gov

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the approval of $118 million in Disaster Assistance Loans for businesses and residents affected by Superstorm Sandy. The SBA also extended the filing deadline for physical property damage to January 28, 2013, and the deadline for economic injury applications to July 31, 2013.

In a press release, Frank Skaggs, director of the SBA’s Field Operations Center East, said that, “Currently, 1,945 disaster loans have been approved in the amount of $118,791,500 for affected survivors,” and that, “We are pleased to get these loans approved so residents in the disaster area can start to rebuild and resume their normal lives. I encourage anyone who has not completed their disaster loan application to do so and return it as quickly as possible.”

Those looking to apply, can visit the SBA’s secure website. For further information and additional details on the loan application process and the location of recovery centers, call the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Wikipedia

Local New York City-based Congressional Representatives are banding together to urge FEMA to extend the deadline for small businesses affected by Superstorm Sandy to apply for disaster aid. A joint letter to FEMA, cosigned by nearly a dozen Congressional Representatives, argues that the deadline, currently set at December 31, is too soon and should be pushed back until May 1, 2013 so small businesses can accurately assess the damages wrought upon their livelihoods.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who represents Coney Island, Bensonhurst, and Borough Park, was among those that signed the letter, wrote:

Hurricane Sandy displaced tens of thousands of New Yorkers and shuttered or destroyed thousands of businesses. Despite the tireless work by so many to rebuild and get business and life back to normal, we are still a long way off.  Our constituents and businesses still need time to regroup and rebuild and, as such, we are asking FEMA to extend the deadline for small business claims to May 1 to give them a real opportunity to get what they need and deserve.

Thus far, FEMA has already paid out $745 million to individuals and families since the advent of Sandy, with $152.1 million earmarked for Kings County alone, while the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), has approved $85.5 million in loans for  businesses, renters, and homeowners. For more information on assistance, you can send an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov, visit sba.gov, or call the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center toll-free number 800-659-2955 (TTY (for hearing impaired) 800-877-8339.)