Chester County Residents Eligible for SBA Disaster Loans After Oxford Fire

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

OXFORD, PA — In light of the devastating Oxford Apartment Complex fire in Chester County on September 14, 2023, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced the availability of low-interest disaster loans for affected businesses and residents. SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman made this announcement following a request for a disaster declaration from Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro on October 23, 2023.

The declaration covers not only Chester County but also its adjacent counties – Berks, Delaware, Lancaster, and Montgomery in Pennsylvania, New Castle in Delaware, and Cecil in Maryland. This move is part of SBA’s commitment to providing an effective and customer-focused response to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners, and renters with federal disaster loans.

A Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) has been set up at Oxford Neighborhood Services, located at 35 N. 3rd Street, Oxford, PA 19363. The DLOC will operate Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., permanently closing on Thursday, November 9 at 4 p.m.

Customer Service Representatives will be present at the DLOC to answer questions about the disaster loan program and assist individuals in completing their applications. These loans aim to help businesses, homeowners, and renters repair or replace real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets damaged or destroyed during the disaster.

According to Stephen R. Dixel, SBA’s Philadelphia District Director, businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million. Furthermore, Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private nonprofit organizations to meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.

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Homeowners are eligible for loans up to $500,000 to repair or replace damaged real estate, while homeowners and renters can avail loans up to $100,000 to repair or replace destroyed personal property, stated Francisco Sanchez Jr., associate administrator of SBA’s Office of Disaster Recovery and Resilience.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase of up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Interest rates are as low as 4% for businesses, 2.375% for nonprofit organizations, and 2.5% for homeowners and renters, with terms of up to 30 years.

Applications can be made online via the SBA’s secure website under SBA declaration # 20016. Alternatively, applicants can reach out to the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. The deadline to return applications for physical property damage is December 26, 2023, and for economic injury applications is July 25, 2024.

Governor Shapiro expressed his commitment to helping Pennsylvanians get back on their feet through these loans. This announcement came after PEMA worked with Chester County to conduct sample surveys determining the economic impact of the disaster.

“A devastating fire in Oxford displaced dozens of families and residents, and that’s had a significant impact on our schools, businesses, and nonprofits across Chester County,” said Governor Shapiro. “My Administration is committed to helping Pennsylvanians get back on their feet and that’s why my team and I have worked with our federal partners to open up access to these low-interest loans, allowing businesses and homeowners to recoup unforeseen losses and get the resources they need.”

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