The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal government agency that offers online tools, training programs, one-on-one counseling services, and funding to help small business owners start and grow businesses. It also provides several kinds of direct, low-interest loans to help individuals and businesses recover after a disaster.
In this guide, we look at three longstanding SBA Disaster Loan programs that may be useful to artists, cultural workers, arts organizations, and arts-related businesses:
These SBA loan programs are available after a presidentially declared disaster but unlike FEMA programs, SBA loans are not dependent on a presidential declaration. The SBA can decide on its own whether or not to make loans available. The programs include fixed, low-interest-rate loans with repayment periods that can go as long as 30 years, with first payments deferred to give disaster survivors time to recover before beginning repayment.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBA rapidly modified and improved access to disaster loans to meet the specific needs associated with COVID-related economic crises and became a much more familiar, if not a household, name. Please note that the requirements and guidelines for the programs in this guide are different from COVID-specific loans.