Small Business Administration opens virtual centers to help those affected by winter storm

The federal disaster declaration for Texas means federal disaster loans at low-interest rates.

The Small Business Administration is opening virtual recovery centers for folks to apply.

The virtual recovery centers opened by the SBA will give business owners, homeowners, renters and non-profits a chance to get some federal money so they can build again following the devastation of the winter storm.

The Downtown Dallas office building where Waylon Tate operates a PR agency was heavily damaged by burst piped.

"Not only was it pouring water out of the ceiling. It was a hot water pipe that burst, so it was steaming," he said.

The culprit was freezing temperatures brought on by the winter storm.

Tate's third-floor office wasn't damaged, but other small business owners weren't so lucky.

The damage at Mama Mia Pizza in Deep Ellum is compounded because the small family business, like so many, had no insurance. Now, the family trying to fix what nature destroyed.

"It’s gonna take a major loss for us," said Anselmo Manzanares with the restaurant. "It’s gonna hurt us bad because we don’t know how long we're gonna be closed down."

Just a few blocks away in South Dallas at Abounding Prosperity, their furniture, floors, walls, computers and servers are all lost. They are trying to get pipes fixed now.

"We have definitely been impacted," said Abounding Prosperity CEO Kirk Myers. "We're a nonprofit so we're gonna need that assistance to help us to be able to continue to serve the community."

The SBA is offering low-interest government loans to help people come back.

"Which is for businesses and non-profits who have been damaged due to the various winter storms," said Ahmed Goree with the SBA.

Businesses can also apply for economic injury loans to cover lost income so bills can be paid.

"A lot of people don’t know in times of disasters, not only do we help businesses and non-profits but we also help homeowners and renters," Goree said.

The city of Richardson opened its own recovery center Tuesday to help its citizens apply for both SBA and FEMA loans.

"Maybe they had damage to their computer and can't do it, so this is a location where we can help them do that," said Greg Sowell with the city of Richardson.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is urging folks to apply for the help after first going through any private insurance.

"Take photos of damages and belongings to the extent possible before they get fixed," he said. "Make a list of damaged and lost items."

It’s the kind of help Mama Mia Pizza needs after the last year.

"After dealing with COVID, the curfew, the riots and now this?" Manzanares said. "And we've dealt with COVID personally. It’s just one after another after another.

The Richardson disaster recovery center is open through Saturday and is only for city of Richardson residents.

The SBA’s virtual centers are open to anyone during its regular business hours.

LINK: Disaster Loan Assistance Application

Virtual Business Recovery Center and Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center
Monday – Friday
8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EDT
(800) 659-2955