SBA Disaster Declaration to provide low-interest loans to businesses closing under shelter orders
Governor Janet Mills announced today that her Administration has requested the US Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide emergency financial assistance to Maine businesses directly affected by last week’s tragedy in Lewiston.
The Mills Administration, through the Department of Economic and Community Development, asked the SBA last week to issue Economic Harm Disaster Loan Declarations for businesses in communities closed under shelter-in-place orders because law enforcement is searching for a suspect in the Lewiston shooting.
If approved, the declaration would provide low-interest loans to eligible businesses in Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties. The application was developed and submitted in partnership with the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the City of Lewiston Department of Economic and Community Development.
“Last week, small businesses in Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties did their part to keep the people of Maine safe as law enforcement conducted an unprecedented search for an armed and dangerous suspect. My Administration is committed to helping small businesses affected by shelter orders mitigate the impact of these unplanned closures as best we can. Gov. Janet Mills said. “I am asking the US Small Business Administration to quickly approve our request so that affected businesses can apply for the necessary assistance, and my Administration will continue to seek additional non-loan financial support opportunities for affected businesses.”
“Through the tragedy and the days that followed, our focus remained on the community and businesses of Androscoggin County.” said Shanna Cox, president and CEO of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “Indeed, small business is the center of a strong community. We are pleased to join the Mills Administration in requesting an SBA Disaster Declaration as a first step to support businesses.”
If Maine’s application is approved, eligible small businesses and private nonprofits can apply for up to $2 million in Economic Loss Disaster Loans for up to 30 years with interest rates no higher than 4 percent. Eligibility, loan amounts and terms will be determined by the SBA.
These working capital loans can be used to pay fixed debts, wages, accounts payable, and other bills that would have been paid had the disaster not occurred. Credits are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.
In addition to seeking assistance from the SBA, the Mills Administration:
- Healing Together, an online information clearinghouse for Maine residents seeking ways to help the Lewiston victims and their families, as well as mental health support for anyone affected by last week’s violence, has launched.
- A dedicated web page of behavioral health resources for Maine residents has been created, including how to talk to children about gun violence, available online at Maine.gov/dhhs.
- An online form has been launched to allow communities or organizations to request behavioral health assistance.
The Mills Administration continues to work closely with Lewiston area schools to ensure returning students and staff have full access to the services and support they may need. The administration has worked to ensure that clinicians and counselors are widely available to students and staff in need.
On Monday, the Governor announced that federal teams, along with the White House Office to Prevent Gun Violence, will be in Maine this week to support first responders and veterans, victims in need of compensation and health care workers.