SBA Disaster Assistance Loans for Civil Unrest Impact
VAN NUYS, Calif .– On June 1, Van Nuys’ Don Larry watch and jewelry repair shop was the target of looting and vandalism when a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally turned destructive. A group of people used the protest as an excuse to break into businesses and steal goods.
This boutique was the lifelong work of Cindy Torres’ father, Larry Contreras. She was heartbroken to see her business completely destroyed.
“It was truly shocking and just unexpected and devastating to see her whole life fall apart in one day,” Torres said.
The next day, when Torres and his family returned to the store to assess the damage, they found that residents of the community had already started the cleanup process.
“This is the America I know,” Torres said in tears as she walked among the volunteers, thanking them for their help.
Larry Contreras has lived and worked at Van Nuys for 40 years.
But he’s not just a business owner. He is also a pastor in a local church. So people from the community come to his repair shop to see him for just about everything.
“They know he’s a pastor. Then they will come and ask him for advice. And he knows a lot of people, he knows lawyers. He knows how to help people with immigration. So people come here, not just for watches or jewelry, ”Torres said.
Contreras suffered $ 70,000 in loss of inventory and damage. What made it worse was that he had no insurance.
“I said to myself: what is he going to do? What are we going to do as a family? ‘ Torres said.
Next, she learned that the SBA’s Economic Disaster Loans and Advances program had been reopened to help small businesses repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, equipment and inventory, or fund other expenses. Torres helped his father fill out the necessary forms.
While waiting to see if the emergency loan works, in the meantime people have given everything from new windows to a new cash register to help her father get back on his feet.
“It changed my worries. This moment and seeing people helping me and people cleaning up. It made me feel really good, ”Torres said.
As the store slowly reopens, loyal customers bring things back for Contreras to fix again.
“It feels good to see my dad having the opportunity to do it all over again. And a lot of people helped out, so I’m really grateful, ”Torres said.
She remains hopeful that the business that took her father four decades to build, and just one day to destroy, will be saved with an emergency loan.
These SBA disaster loans are only available for damages and losses due to civil unrest and not for losses related to COVID-19. Interest rates are based on each applicant’s financial situation and can be as low as 3% for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits with terms of up to 30 years.
Applications can be completed online, by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955, or by sending an email to [email protected]