SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses, residents Flood recovery office set up in Ludlow; forms available online

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to businesses and residents in Vermont following the announcement of a presidential disaster declaration due to damages from severe storms and flooding that began on July 7.

“SBA’s mission-driven team stands ready to help Vermont small businesses and residents impacted by this disaster in every way possible under President Biden’s disaster declaration for certain affected areas,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild.”

The disaster declaration covers Chittenden, Lamoille, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor counties in Vermont, which are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.

Disaster survivors should not wait to settle with their insurance company before applying for a disaster loan. If a survivor does not know how much of their loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, SBA can make a low-interest disaster loan for the total loss up to its loan limits, provided the borrower agrees to use insurance proceeds to reduce or repay the loan.

Locally, an SBA Business Recovery Center will open at 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 19 at the Engel & Völkers Okemo Building, 126 Main St. in Ludlow.

SBA customer service representatives at the center will assist business owners and residents in filling out a disaster loan application, accept documents for existing applications  and provide updates on an application’s status. The center will operate as indicated below until further notice:

Business Recovery Center Windsor County
Engel & Völkers Okemo Building
126 Main St.
Ludlow, VT 05149

Opening: Wednesday. July 19, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Business Recovery Center Washington County
Vermont Chamber of Commerce
751 Granger Road
Berlin, VT 05641

Opening: Tuesday, July 18, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed: Sunday

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.

  • For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates are as low as:

  • 4 percent for businesses,
  • 2.375 percent for nonprofit organizations, and
  • 2.5 percent for homeowners and renters, with terms up to 30 years.

Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.  Building back smarter and stronger can be an effective recovery tool for future disasters.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase of up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA, for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, elevation, retaining walls and landscaping to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

  • Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website by clicking here  and should apply under SBA declaration # 18016.
  • To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at by clicking here or  or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Disaster loan information and application forms can also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services) or by sending an email to

  • Loan applications can also be downloaded from by clicking here. Completed applications should be mailed to:

U.S. Small Business Administration
Processing and Disbursement Center
14925 Kingsport Road
Fort Worth, TX 76155

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Sept. 12, 2023. The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 15, 2024.

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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