Disaster loans available

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Monday that small, non-farming businesses in Kaua‘i and Honolulu counties are eligible for low-interest disaster loans up to $1.5 million.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loans are designed to help small businesses recover financial obligations and operating expenses lost during the heavy flooding throughout the spring.

“Eligibility for these working-capital loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only, and not on any actual property damage,” said Alfred E. Judd, director of the SBA Disaster Field Operations Center’s Western region office in Sacramento.

The loans carry a 4-percent interest rate over a maximum of 30 years.

The SBA is working with the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center to get the word out.

“We’re here to serve as a conduit to the funding out into the community,” said chamber President Randall Francisco.

Francisco said he is working with the SBA to ascertain turnaround time on applications, and when qualifiers could expect to receive money. The deadline to apply for the loans is Dec. 26.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Services Agency is handling disaster relief loans of up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators.

On Tuesday afternoon, President Bush signed a disaster declaration for Hawai‘i, which should open the door to an influx of federal disaster-relief funds.

A significant percentage of those funds could wind up on Kaua‘i, which took the brunt of the damage.

• Ford Gunter, staff writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 251) or fgunter@kauaipubco.com.

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