Shaheen Leads Small Business Panel on Hurricane Disaster Response; Puerto Rico Crisis

September 27, 2017

**SBA low-interest disaster loans now available for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes** 

**FEMA: 40 percent of small businesses that close after a disaster never reopen**

Video of Senator Shaheen at the Small Business Committee hurricane hearing is available HERE.

(Washington, DC) – Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, today participated in a committee hearing examining the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) early response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. 

Senator Shaheen pressed witnesses on the government’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, SBA’s low-interest disaster loan program, and the coordinated hurricane recovery programs of the SBA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“What is happening in Puerto Rico is nothing short of a humanitarian crisis.  Lives are in danger, and our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico deserve a robust response from both the Administration and Congress,” Shaheen said.  “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy.  When natural disasters hit, big businesses have the tools and resources to recover quickly.  Small businesses need both financial and technical support to get their businesses back up and running, and we need to make sure that help is available without excessive red tape or wait times.”

In early September, Congress passed a supplemental appropriations bill that provided more than $15 billion for disaster relief efforts, including $450 million to bolster SBA’s disaster response through low-interest loans to hurricane victims. 

FEMA estimates that 40 percent of small businesses that close after a disaster never reopen. 

SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters.  Disaster loans can be used to repair or replace the following items damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster: real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets. 

For more information about SBA disaster loans, visit disasterloan.sba.gov or contact the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955.