WASHINGTON — In the past year, low-income disaster survivors have received more than $38.7 million in expanded assistance because of FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s policy changes to lower the minimum household income thresholds for some types of FEMA assistance.
FEMA and SBA have programs that help survivors after a disaster, and many homeowners and renters apply for FEMA assistance and SBA loans. As one of the largest sources of federal funding for individuals and households, low-interest SBA loans are a critical piece to aid survivors rebuilding their lives after a disaster. Although low-income applicants will still be able to apply for SBA loans, these changes expand and expedite FEMA grant assistance for these survivors.
More than 2,500 hurricane Fiona and Ian survivors have benefited from these changes, resulting in $6.7 million in survivors’ pockets to help jumpstart their recovery efforts as quickly as possible.
“FEMA strives to deliver programs in a way that increases accessibility and reduces unnecessary barriers to help those impacted by disaster jumpstart their recovery, but we know we cannot do it alone. This effort requires a whole-of-government approach, and we are grateful for our partners at SBA who help us achieve this critical objective,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “The policy changes we’ve made alongside SBA to make disaster assistance more accessible for low-income families is just one example of the power of this partnership.”
“Following a disaster, many people struggle with financial demands that are not covered by insurance or other forms of assistance,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “Yet it is critical for communities to be able to rebuild and recover quickly. These changes will enable people to receive FEMA assistance faster while still giving them an opportunity to apply for an SBA loan. We are proud to partner on this with FEMA, as we believe this will deliver equitable, long-term disaster recovery for all Americans.”
The SBA offers disaster assistance in the form of low interest loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters located in regions affected by declared disasters. SBA also provides eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations with working capital to help overcome the economic injury of a declared disaster, even if they did not suffer any physical losses.