The federal government is stepping in to arrange for loans to businesses affected by the Mission District blaze that destroyed a corner of shops, restaurants, and apartments in June.
The Small Business Administration announced on Wednesday it will open up “disaster assistance” for residential tenants and businesses affected by the five-alarm blaze that struck the corner of 29th and Mission on June 18th. With the blaze now designated as a disaster, low-interest loans become available to renters, landlords, and business owners interested in receiving them through the federal government.
“Basically they come in, they provide the scope of damages of what transpired to their business and personal property,” and businesses or residents can qualify for a loan, said Susheel Kumar, a spokesperson with the Small Business Administration.
“This is a no fees, no points, no closing costs loan,” Kumar said, adding, “basically if you pay the bills on time” businesses and residents will qualify for the loan. “It’s pretty straightforward.”
Immediately after the fire, the city submitted an “emergency declaration” through the state to the Small Business Administration, said Gloria Chan, a spokesperson with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. The federal agency then investigated the extent of the damages after the fire and decided it met their standards for federal loan assistance.
Starting on Friday, August 12, the federal agency will open a center at the Mission Economic Development Agency at 2301 Mission St. to connect with businesses and residents interested in the loans. The center will be open until August 26. The center will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Renters will be able to take out loans of up to $40,000 with interest rates as low as 1.6 percent, while businesses and landlords can get up to $2 million with as little as 4 percent interest, with terms of up to 30 years.
That joins grants of up to $10,000 made available to the fire-affected businesses by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Six businesses — the 3300 Club, El Gran Taco Loco, Playa Azul, Coronitas, the Front Porch, and the Harvest Shop — have already or are in the process of taking advantage of the grants, said Chan.
Those grants were specifically designed to tide businesses over until other loans — like the federal loans made available this week — opened up.
“The goals of the fund is to not only assist with their recovery, but also help stabilize their cash flow while they get approval for loans or wait for their insurance to reimburse businesses for damages, which can take months,” Chan wrote in an email.
Neighbors and local businesses have already been persistently fundraising for both affected businesses and tenants, holding events at local bars, restaurants and shops as well as promoting . The Mission Bernal Merchants Association has raised some $16,000 and is aiming for $20,000. The Mission Economic Development Agency has .
Additional details about the loans are available here.