Velazquez Touts Renewal of Hurricane Sandy Disaster Loan Program

Rep. Nydia Velazquez and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet joined AAFE staff and business owners yesterday.
Rep. Nydia Velazquez and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet joined AAFE staff and business owners yesterday.
Rep. Nydia Velazquez and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet joined AAFE staff and business owners yesterday.

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez and Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the Small Business Administration, were in the neighborhood yesterday to talk up the rejuvenation of a Hurricane Sandy emergency loan program.

That’s right, three years after the big storm there’s a new push to aid businesses and homeowners who became frustrated in the aftermath of Sandy and never processed their applications. In an event at the headquarters of Asian Americans for Equality on Allen Street, they publicized the program, which was brought back to life late last year.

The SBA stopped taking applications in 2013. A report by the Government Accountability Office found that it took the feds as long as 45 days to approve or deny emergency loans. Legislation authored by Velazquez and enacted in November renewed the program. $3.4 million has been loaned in New York City since December.

At yesterday’s press event, the officials highlighted the case of Chinatown businessman Peter Li of  “47 Division Street Trading, Inc.” In the aftermath of Sandy, the poultry and meat supplier suffered losses of about $500,000. While AAFE’s Renaissance Economic Development Corp. provided a small emergency loan to the business, the SBA loan wasn’t processed for six months. On average, the government is now pushing through loans in eight days.

There was plenty of praise to go around yesterday for Velazquez and for AAFE. The SBA administrator presented AAFE with an award in recognition of the local non-profit’s longstanding partnership with the SBA.

You can learn more about the SBA Disaster Loan Program here.  Residents can receive up to $200,000 to repair physical damage — and $40,000 to replace personal belongings. Businesses and non-profits are eligible for up to $2 million.