SBA announces aid for Pennsylvania’s small businesses affected by recent disasters
Among those included there are businesses hit after the explosion at the R.M. Palmer company factory, and by the collapse of the Interstate 95 bridge.
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Isabel Casillas Guzmán, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), recently announced that Pennsylvania small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture enterprises, and private non-profit organizations affected by the explosion at the Pennsylvania R.M. Palmer company factory and the Interstate 95 bridge collapse, can apply for low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs).
While the explosion at R.M. Palmer in West Reading Borough occurred on March 24, 2023, the Interstate 95 bridge collapse in Philadelphia began on June 11, 2023.
Casillas Guzmán made the loans available in response to a letter from Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro on June 27, 2023, requesting a disaster declaration from the SBA.
Eligible applicants in the declared areas can now apply for low-interest disaster loans from the SBA.
R.M. Palmer Explosion
In the case of the explosion, the statement covers Berks County and the adjacent counties of Chester, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Schuylkill in Pennsylvania.
Casillas Guzmán stated in a press release:
SBA’s mission-driven team stands ready to help Pennsylvania small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses, and private nonprofit organizations impacted by the March 24 explosion at the R.M. Palmer Company factory in West Reading Borough.
To help businesses affected by the disaster, SBA will open a Business Recovery Center (BRC) in Berks County between July 7 and July 21, 2023.
Customer service representatives will be available at BRC to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help business owners complete their applications.
“After the devastating explosion at the R.M. Palmer Company, our hearts go out to the families of the seven lives lost and all those who were injured. We are committed to extending our support through a Declaration of Economic Injury Disaster in five counties across the state,” noted Francisco Sánchez Jr., associate administrator for the Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience at the SBA.
Interstate 95 Bridge Collapse
Also in response to another letter from Governor Shapiro, SBA announced that low-interest disaster loans from the administration are now available in Philadelphia County and adjacent Bucks, Delaware, and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania, as well as Burlington, Camden and Gloucester, in New Jersey.
“BA’s mission-driven team stands ready to help Pennsylvania small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses, and private nonprofit organizations impacted by the June 11 Interstate 95 Bridge collapse in Philadelphia,” pointed out Casillas Guzmán.
After the collapse of the Interstate 95 bridge, several companies suffered considerable economic damage that left them in a difficult state of vulnerability and with pressing financial needs that seek to be covered with this federal aid.
“We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild,” added Casillas Guzmán.
Interest rates are 4% for businesses and 2.375% for non-profit organizations, with terms of up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition.