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The U.S. Small Business Administration announced last week it will offer low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses who were impacted economically by the severe winter storms that washed through the region in February.  Acting under its own authority, the SBA declared a disaster following a May 15, 2019 request from the California Office of Emergency Services at the behest of Governor Gavin Newsom. The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, Orange and San Diego Counties.  The “SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist California small businesses with federal disaster loans,” said SBA acting Administrator Christopher M. Pilkerton. “We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of this disaster.” Eligibility will be based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. The loans have an interest rate of four percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years. The loans are also restricted to small businesses without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.  The Inland Empire Riverside Small Business Development Center is offering free, personalized counseling to help affected businesses in their recovery. For assistance contact Vincent McCoy at 3780 Market Street in downtown Riverside by emailing vmmcoy@iesmallbusiness.com or by calling (951) 781-2345. You can also visit the San Bernardino Development Center’s office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m.to 5:00 p.m.; or by visiting their website at http://www.inlandempiresbdc.org. Those seeking assistance are encouraged to call first for an appointment. Visit http://www.disasterloan.sba.gov/el if you would like to apply online, seek additional information and download applications; or call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955. The deadline to apply for economic injury is Feb. 24, 2020.