Federal assistance available for businesses in South Mississippi

Hurricane Zeta hit just a little more than two months ago, but many South Mississippians are still reeling from the storm’s effects.

Federal help is now available for South Mississippians hit by Hurricane Zeta. Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce CEO Adele Lyons said, “Finally, we got the federal declaration on Hurricane Zeta, which happened on October 28th.  Finally, on New Year’s Eve, the President declared it a federal disaster. Now the SBA, the Small Business Administration, which is a federal agency that handles a lot of disaster loan programs for both businesses and homeowners now has opened up those programs, and now people can begin to apply for those programs and resources.”

The SBA is now offering low-interest loans for small businesses that suffered actual physical damages from Hurricane Zeta. “If it is roof damage, windows were blown out, equipment was damaged due to the roof or something, that is certainly eligible for the loan program up to $2 million. It’s an application process that people should go through. The applications close on March 1st. People don’t need to wait around on this.”

There is another form of assistance that South Mississippi businesses can apply for even if your business was not directly hit or suffered damage from Hurricane Zeta. “There’s also this Economic Injury Disaster Loan, so that is for businesses that didn’t suffer any physical damage, but maybe had some economic damages to their business. They saw sales fall off because of the actual hurricane and the damage it did to our community.”

For now, you’ll have to apply online at sba.gov/disaster. “Right now, they have a virtual help resource center that’s available. You can also find some information on their website on how to call or email them. They’re open every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to try to get some assistance and questions answered. There may be a local resource center that will open that people can physically go to, but that hasn’t happened as of yet.”

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