(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Reviews how to access federal disaster loan program

Illinois Rep. Lauren Underwood held a Facebook Live session with Robert Steiner,  the Illinois district director of the Small Business Administration, to let businesses in her district know what resources are available to help them stay afloat during the pandemic.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread throughout our community Illinoisians continue to face uncertainty amid this unprecedented time,” Underwood said in her opening remarks. “Among the hardest hit by the coronavirus are small businesses who are the backbone of our economy and deserve the support of the federal government while they’re faced with extreme uncertainty.”

Underwood said she’s heard from many small businesses owners in her district asking what resources are available, which inspired her to host the session. 

Steiner went into detail about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, explaining that under normal circumstances the program is used to help businesses that are affected by natural disasters. 

“But in this particular case, because of the broad impact of the coronavirus the program is being made available,” Steiner said.

The small business loans can provide funds up to two million dollars and the terms can be stretched over 30 years. However, Steiner reminded the audience that it is a loan program and those loans will need to be paid back over time but they are available with low interest rates. 

“It’s a kind of long term working capital program that’s intended to help you as a small business owner be able to make payment on those those obligations that you have to keep your business open, your payroll, your accounts payable, your lease, other fixed debts that you have that you have to pay month in and month out,” he said. 

The loan program is available to just about every small business in Illinois with a few exceptions. 

“As an example, if you are a location that has video gambling or any business that earns more than one third of its revenue from gambling is an ineligible business. That’s like a casino or a racetrack,” Steiner explained. 

The Small Business Administration also has other resources for businesses that don’t want to take out loans including business counseling, networking and support. 

More information can be found here