Restore Louisiana Small Business Loan Funding Begins

Published 3:15 pm Thursday, November 30, 2023

Houma, LA – Long-awaited help for small business applicants recovering from the 2020 -2021 storms has arrived. Beginning the week of November 13, the first group of approved applicants of the Restore Louisiana Small Business Recovery Initiative began receiving payments to assist with their post-disaster unmet financial needs. Here in the River Parishes, businesses in Ascension, and St John have started to receive their storm recovery payments. For owners looking to apply, the application period which began on May 1, 2023, will remain open until December 31, 2023. As Louisiana’s economy continues to struggle, getting financial assistance into the hands of business owners has been a Restore goal. South Central Planning and Development Commission, one of four agencies overseeing the loan, has hundreds of applications in the pipeline to date.

“We appreciate the diligence of our applicants. It has taken a little time and patience to get these first files through the system,” says Cullen Curole of South Central Planning and Development Commission. “But the pre-season is over, as dollars hit the street for files that quickly scored, we need applicants to help us complete their files so that the regular funding season can flow into our business communities.”

The initiative currently covers 36 of the hardest-impacted Louisiana parishes. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated $3.1 billion to the Community Development Block Grant- Disaster Recovery Unit to aid in disaster recovery efforts for regions impacted by Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Ida, and the May Storms of 2021. Funding is administered by the Louisiana Office of Community Development through its Restore Louisiana initiative which was originally designed to assist homeowners impacted by disasters in 2016. Of that $3.1 Billion, $96.1 million has been set aside to eligible small businesses for 0% interest loans to strengthen their recovery.

Applications are still being accepted until December 31, 2023. For eligible businesses, the Restore Business Loan offers a 0% interest 7-year loan with the possibility of 40% forgiveness once 60% of theloan is repaid. Loans range from $10,000 to $150,000 but can go up to $250,000 by approved exception.

Eligible businesses must have 1-50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees, made a minimum of $25,000 in annual gross revenue before the disaster event, and be located in one of the program’s eligible parishes. Businesses also had to have been open at the time of the disaster event; experienced a financial or physical loss as a result of the disaster; and have an eligible unmet need. The loan can be used to pay monthly rent or mortgages; wages and benefits; utilities; inventory; and for equipment. The application does not require any closing costs or application fees. Business owners are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applicants can check additional eligibility guidelines and apply online at www.scpdc.org, call 1-800-630-3791 for inquiries, or visit one of SCPDC’s 19 intake locations found on our site. In the River Parishes, there are locations in Reserve and Boutte.