PrudentLenders visited the South Jersey coast this weekend to assist in the cleanup efforts and distribute information on SBA Disaster Loans to local businesses. We started in the barrier island communities north of Wildwood and made our way north, visiting Avalon and Ocean City. The first half of the day was spent hauling floating dock and piling debris to the curbs for collection, shoveling sand, and removing large stones and concrete slabs from residential properties. While the more southerly communities on the barrier islands did not experience the level of damage that the Central Jersey coast did, from LBI northward, the amount of time needed to clean and secure properties was extensive and will continue in the coming weeks and months.
Higher elevation areas of Avalon and Ocean City fared well while the lower spots of these islands had extensive flood damage. Household furnishings, drywall, insulation and AC systems located beneath homes were ruined in many of the low-lying areas of these towns. The sidewalks were lined with soaked and stained items. The good news was that the towns were filled with residents and volunteers that were in the process of digging out. Utility trucks from Mississippi and Texas and cars from Maryland and Ohio reflect that people and businesses from across the country had shown up to help.
The second half of the day was spent distributing informational printouts from the SBA website related to Disaster Loans to local businesses and directing them to the SBA Disaster Recovery Center Hotline (1-800-659-2955) to apply or receive help in filling out the application. Home furnishings stores, restaurants, and dry cleaners throughout these towns were filled with groups of people hauling out ruined inventory and machinery. The SBA offers several different types of disaster loans for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. SBA can provide up to $2 million in disaster assistance; this includes both economic injury and physical damage assistance. Depending on the loan type, the proceeds may be used for different purposes. Some applicants will qualify for both an economic injury loan and a physical disaster loan. Physical Disaster Loan proceeds may be used for the repair or replacement of the following: Real property, Machinery, Equipment, Fixtures, Inventory, and Leasehold improvements. SBA loans will cover uninsured physical damage. If the property was insured but the owner is required to apply insurance proceeds to an outstanding mortgage on the damaged property, he can include the amount applied in the disaster loan application. A Disaster Loan can also help meet the normal financial obligations that a business or private nonprofit organization could have met had the disaster not occurred. These are the Economic Injury loans. It permits the business to maintain a reasonable working capital position during the period affected by the disaster. Information on these programs is available at http://www.sba.gov/content/applying-disaster-loan.
While distributing information from SBA, directing people to the hotline, and assisting in cleanup efforts was useful to those encountered, we invite those who can, to travel to these communities and lend a hand. Businesses and homeowners will be standing outside their locations. Just walk up and ask if they could use some help.