Small Business Relief in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy
Large cities and small towns across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are now recovering from Hurricane Sandy, one of the most devastating storms to have ever struck the East Coast of our country. The images are heart-wrenching, the personal suffering is real and the need is enormous. Many individuals and families are still without the most basic necessities of life…food, clean water, heat and a safe and secure home.
One of the groups being relied upon most to help bring stability, hope, community spirit and pride back to these neighborhoods is small businesses. As a CPA devoted toyour small business clients or your organization, as well as to your friends and neighbors, you are more than a trusted counselor on disaster recovery. You are also the go-to source for the public- and private-sector organizations that can best help small business owners get their businesses up and running, and disaster victims get their lives back on track. Rich Caturano, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA has contributed a blog post detailing AICPA resources and tools to help CPAs through this difficult time.
Overall federal agency efforts: usa.gov/sandy.
FEMA: FEMA.gov and 800.321.3362
FEMA should be your first source to apply for assistance, even if you’re uncertain of the need for or extent of assistance. FEMA has committed more than $120M for rental assistance and is working with a number of organizations to ensure safety and recovery of individuals and business. Filling out the FEMA application will prepare you and your clients for assistance through the SBA; your FEMA claim information will carry over to your application to the SBA.
SBA: sba.gov/disaster and 800.659.2955
- sba.gov/sandy: Find SBA resources specific to Hurricane Sandy, including the latest presidential disaster declarations and links to contracting opportunities for small businesses
- Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center
- Follow the SBA, FEMA, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Department of Human Services and other Federal agencies involved in disaster recovery on Twitter
- Disaster Center Offices
- Connecticut District Office
- New Jersey District Office
- New York District Office
- Disaster Loans: Low-interest homeowner, business and small not-for-profit organization loans are available through an online application (no collateral required)
- Loan types
- Home and Personal Property
- Business Physical Disaster
- Economic Injury Disaster
- Military Reservists Economic Injury
Generally, SBA disaster loans are being processed to a decision in about 10 days, with five-day disbursement availability after the loan closing process is complete. There are online applications, but you can also visit one of the Disaster Recovery Centers where an SBA representative will walk you through completing the application. The application has also been streamlined to a three-page document, making it faster to complete.
One other item of interest: the SBA disaster loans are available to small businesses, which includes not-for-profit organizations, so if your NFP clients have suffered damage they too can apply for assistance.
Our thoughts are with those affected by this terrible storm and we wish all a speedy recovery.
Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA, Vice President, Firm Services & Global Alliances, American Institute of CPAs.
Photo credit: Todd Sokolove