The U.S. Small Business Administration has opened an office in Jackson, Miss., for organizations in Hinds County and seven adjacent counties to access disaster loans to remediate the impact of the water crisis in the capital city. Other counties that can apply at the office include Claiborne, Copiah, Madison, Rankin, Simpson, Warren and Yazoo counties.
The SBA Business Recovery Center at the Chamber of Commerce Building will be open Mondays to Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m at 201 S. President St., Jackson. It will cease operation at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, though businesses will still be able to apply for loans online until June 14, 2023
“Applicants may also apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s and should apply under SBA declaration #17621, not for the COVID-19 incident,” a Sept. 15, 2022 news release said. The loan terms include having an “acceptable” credit history and having an ability to repay the loan.
SBA’s Mississippi District Director Janita R. Stewart said in a news release that the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans, or EIDLs, to eligible applicants “to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.” Mississippi-based small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and private nonprofit organizations are eligible, the press release said.
The recent water crisis in Jackson began on July 29, 2022, when the City of Jackson posted a boil-water notice. A city-wide fall in water pressure followed. Businesses felt the effects of the crisis through increased operating expenses and a reduction in clientele. On Sept. 15, 2022, Reeves announced the removal of the boil-water notice following remediation efforts that federal and state agencies underwent.
U.S. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in the Sept. 15, 2022, press release that “SBA’s mission-driven team stands ready to help small businesses and private nonprofit organizations in Hinds County impacted by the Jackson Water Crisis.”
“We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild,” she added.
In a statement on Sept. 14, 2022, requesting a SBA declaration to make disaster loans available, Gov. Tate Reeves said the low-interest loans will help businesses come back from the recent acute crisis.
“Many businesses within Hinds County, including the city of Jackson, have experienced economic losses due to total or near-total loss of water pressure following the Pearl River flooding in late August 2022. With little to no running water throughout the city, businesses could not serve, clean, cool or sanitize, forcing them to either suffer losses or temporarily shut down,” he said.
In the press release on Saturday, Office of Disaster Assistance Associate Administrator Francisco Sanchez, Jr. said that “those that have suffered economic losses should find comfort that the SBA is now ready to move rapidly to provide federal disaster assistance.”
The loan terms include a 3.04% interest rate for businesses and 1.875% rate for nonprofit organizations, with terms up to 30 years. The SBA added that “loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.”
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans can provide Jackson businesses with up to $2 million to “help meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” the agency’s website says. It can waive that limit if “a business is a major source of employment,” SBA said. The loan amount is based on “actual economic injury” and the company’s financial needs.
The organization provides options for the deaf and hard-of-hearing to call 800-877-2955 for assistance. Others should contact the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. Loan applications can be downloaded at sba.gov/disaster, and completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to the following address:
U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center
14925 Kingsport Road
Fort Worth, TX 76155
See the Mississippi Free Press’ full Jackson water-crisis coverage, starting in March 2021.