As COVID-19 continues to spread, the need for governmental assistance in the Coachella Valley grows. At the time of this writing, the resources available to help businesses survive this challenging time are just beginning to roll out. Among the currently best-defined programs is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The SBDC has created an excellent resource guide that can get you started. Pay close attention to pages 3, 4, and 5 for information about eligibility, required documentation, and how to apply.
We spoke with Natalie Orta, Senior Area Manager of the Coachella Valley Satellite Office of the SBA. She provided tips to make the SBA Loan process easier:
- Apply now. Application volume is, and will continue to be, unusually heavy. Don’t wait!
- Be sure to only check the box for EIDL loan program (Economic Injury Disaster Loan). Leave other boxes unchecked.
- Don’t miss any of the required information – these are the items marked with a red star.
- You may get nervous about the “no credit available elsewhere” requirement (page 4). But this will not be a problem for most applicants.
- Terms: currently 3.75% interest for 30 years.
- There will be one year moratorium on loan payments. Please note: interest will start to accrue once the funds are disbursed.
- The long-term impact of the COVID-19 situation is still unknown. If you find you need more funds, it is possible to get more once you have a loan and are in the system. You have two years to do so.
- Keep in mind that the loan cannot be processed until all documentation is submitted.
Due to a surge in demand on the SBA website, the online portal is not reliably accessible. To avoid frustration, you are advised to email, fax, or mail your paper applications. Note: When mailing, do so with tracking.
Where to send your application
If Emailing: Ela.firstname.lastname@example.org
If Faxing: 202-481-1505
U.S. Small Business Administration
Processing and Disbursement Center
14925 Kingsport Rd.
Ft. Worth, TX 76155-2243
If you need assistance with your application, you have options. Remember that you cannot get face-to-face consulting right now, so you’ll be relying on technology to get help. You can start with these instructional videos. The Coachella Valley SBDC is also available to assist with your SBA EIDL package.
One final tip offered by Orta: there is a way to get through if you find it’s difficult to speak to a live person. It works once you have a case number. Once you do, if you need to call the disaster call center, say, “I would like to speak with my case manager”.
Orta urges business owners who have been affected by COVID-19 to apply for the SBA EIDL as soon as possible. Many affected businesses are expected to qualify if they are able to provide the needed documentation. If your business does not qualify for EIDL financing, contact us to explore available options or reach Natalie Orta at the local SBA Satellite Office by emailing Natalie.Orta@sba.gov.