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Brower: SBA offers inexpensive disaster loans in Grand

Patrick Brower
Grand Enterprise Initiative
The East Troublesome Fire burns over Granby on Oct. 20, 2020. The Small Business Administration is offering low-interest disaster loans to local businesses of all sizes, private nonprofits and homeowners and renters.
Sky-Hi News file photo

As if the economic ravages of the COVID pandemic weren’t enough, Grand County was hit by two wildfires last year that didn’t help at all.

One of the fires, the East Troublesome Fire, was particularly bad with more than 300 homes destroyed and 200 “outbuildings,” along with nearly countless other assets burned and ruined.

While Grand Lake has pulled some donors together to help offer grants to businesses hurt in the fire, through and Grand Foundation administered effort, a new program has been presented which offers a short deadline for anyone who is interested. This is not only for businesses.



The Small Business Administration is offering low-interest disaster loans to non-farm businesses of all sizes, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters in Grand County. Other counties included in this program are Boulder, Clear Creek, Eagle, Gilpin, Jackson Larimer, Routt and Summit.

The program is for people or businesses who suffered losses caused by the wildfires that occurred Sept. 6 through Nov. 5. All types of loans are available. They are reasonable and inexpensive.



For individuals and families, homeowners can get up to $200,000 to repair or replace real estate damage and up to $40,000 to replace personal property. Renters can get up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property.

For business, loans can be available for up to $2 million to repair or replace real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other assets that were damaged or destroyed. This is for businesses of any size and private, nonprofit organizations.

In the realm of economic injury for businesses, the program is only for small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations that suffered adverse financial impacts of the disaster (with or without property loss). This is up to $2 million for working capital to help pay obligations until normal operations resume.

There are deadlines to apply. For the physical damage to homes and businesses, the deadline is April 26. That’s only 19 days away. For economic injury, the deadline is Nov. 23 of this year.

Of course, it’s all fine and dandy to have these loans available, but it’s frequently the application process that gets in the way of people getting the loans. But there’s hope in that area.

For starters, Lisa Wood of Granby with the Small Business Development Center is up to speed on helping people with these loans. She can be reached at ldwood227@gmail.com.

As well, the SBA has set up a virtual disaster loan outreach center that is open Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. eastern time. People interested can contact an SBA customer service representative via e-mail at FOCWAssistance@sba.gov or by phone at 800-659-2955. Help will be offered in how to get started and then complete these loan apps.

Just for the public’s information, these loans have extremely good rates and terms. Money like this doesn’t come available regularly.

I have talked to some of the people involved in this program and they have said that the SBA is going out of its way to make the application process less onerous than one might expect. Yes, paperwork and proof will be demanded for people asking for funds, but it won’t be like a person was applying for a whole new business loan.

These loans should not be confused with the special batch of COVID relief and recovery loans that have been offered for the last year or so. But it should be noted that there are loans specifically tied to COVID relief that are still available and that also offer good terms and rates. Some still are tied to “loan forgiveness” if certain employment and proof of loss requirements are met.

Consult with your local banker or go on line to inquire about these COVID relief loans.

For both the fire loans and the COVID loans, businesses might want to take advantage of disasters and hardship to earn some economic relief.

Patrick Brower is the Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative. He offers free and confidential business management coaching to anyone who wants to start or expand a business in Grand County. He can be reached by calling 970-531-0632 or at patrickbrower@kapoks.org.

 


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