SBA Disaster Declaration would make available low-interest loans to businesses that closed in compliance with shelter-in-place orders
Governor Janet Mills announced today that her Administration has requested that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) make emergency financial assistance available to Maine businesses directly impacted by last week’s tragedy in Lewiston.
The Mills Administration, through the Department of Economic & Community Development, has requested that the SBA issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration for businesses in communities that closed in accordance with shelter-in-place orders last week as law enforcement conducted a search for the Lewiston shooting suspect.
If approved, the declaration would make available low-interest loans to eligible businesses in Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties. The application was prepared and submitted in partnership of the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the City of Lewiston’s Department of Economic & Community Development.
“Last week, small businesses across Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties did their part to keep Maine people safe while law enforcement conducted an unprecedented search for an armed and dangerous suspect. My Administration is committed to helping small businesses impacted by shelter-in-place orders mitigate the impact of these unplanned closures as best we can,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I ask the U.S. Small Business Administration to quickly approve our request so that impacted businesses can apply for necessary relief, and my Administration will continue to look for opportunities for additional non-loan financial support for impacted businesses.”
"Through the tragedy and the days that followed, our focus has been on the community and businesses of Androscoggin County,” said Shanna Cox, President & CEO of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “Indeed, small businesses are the center of a strong community. We have been pleased to join with the Mills Administration on the request for an SBA Disaster Declaration as the first step to supporting businesses."
If Maine’s application is approved, eligible small businesses and private nonprofit organizations could apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million with interest rates not to exceed 4 percent, with terms of up to 30 years. Eligibility, loan amounts, and terms will be determined by the SBA.
These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.
In addition to requesting assistance from the SBA, the Mills Administration has:
- Launched “Healing Together” – an online clearinghouse of information for Maine people looking for ways to help Lewiston victims and their families, as well as mental health supports for anyone affected by last week’s violence.
- Created a dedicated webpage of behavioral health resources for Maine people, including how to talk to children about gun violence, available online at maine.gov/dhhs.
- Launched an online form that allows communities or organizations to request behavioral health help.
The Mills Administration continues to work closely with Lewiston area schools to ensure students and staff returning to school have full access to services and support they may need. The Administration has worked to ensure clinicians and counselors will be widely available for students and staff in need.
On Monday, the Governor also announced that, in partnership with the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, federal teams will be in Maine this week to support first responders and veterans, victims in need of compensation, and health care workers.