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PR- 261-07
July 27, 2007


New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor Eliot Spitzer today announced that the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued a physical and economic injury disaster declaration for the Boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens that were impacted by the July 18 steam pipe explosion in midtown Manhattan.  Also declared were the contiguous New Jersey counties of Bergen and Hudson.

"This is certainly welcome news for businesses and residents who have been affected by the steam pipe explosion and the ongoing recovery efforts," said Governor Spitzer. "Two days ago, we requested this much needed relief and I thank the SBA for its quick response and for making available low-interest loans to speed the recovery of the more than 1,000 businesses that have been affected."

"One week after the midtown steam pipe explosion we made significant progress on the clean up, but for many area businesses the economic damage had already been done," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Swift action from Governor Spitzer and the SBA, coupled with the efforts of the City's Office of Emergency Management and Department of Small Businesses Services, will make sure these businesses get the support they need to get back on their feet."

"This is welcome relief for businesses still reeling from the explosion," said Senator Charles Schumer. "As these small businesses and restaurants come back to life, the SBA loans will be an invaluable resource and provide much needed financial support during these difficult times. Many businesses in the area suffered major losses and damage after the unexpected burst. In my letter, I asked the SBA to process the state and City's request quickly and I appreciate their attention to this disaster. I urge them to ensure this vital aid reaches those who need it as soon as possible."

"The economic damage done to these businesses was unexpected, and it is critical that we help them get back on their feet," said Senator Hillary Clinton. "I was pleased to support the Governor and the Mayor's request to get this done for those businesses that have borne the brunt of this tragic accident and we are thankful that the federal Small Business Administration has recognized just how much they are struggling.  This federal assistance will certainly help as they try to recover their losses. This declaration will help the impacted businesses to repair or replace damaged property and inventory."

"I am delighted that the SBA has responded so promptly to the request for disaster relief, and that Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Spitzer responded promptly to the needs of local business owners, and to my July 20, 2007 letter requesting such a declaration," Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said. "I've been reaching out to the business community in the contaminated zone, and many of them tell me that this explosion has been financially devastating for them.  It's good to know that the federal government will be stepping in with much needed assistance."

Low-interest economic injury SBA loans provide working capital to assist eligible small businesses recover from losses caused by a disaster or emergency such as the July 18 steam pipe explosion. Small businesses impacted may be eligible for an economic injury disaster loan of up to $1.5 million to meet necessary financial obligations.

Businesses of all sizes may apply for a physical disaster loan of up to $1.5 million to repair or replace damaged real estate, equipment, inventory and fixtures. The loan may be increased by as much as 20 percent to protect the property against future disasters of the same type.  These loans will cover uninsured or under-insured losses.

Homeowners and renters may apply for physical disaster loans to pay recovery costs not covered by insurance.  Renters and homeowners alike may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace clothing, furniture, cars or appliances damaged or destroyed in the disaster.

The application deadline for physical disaster loans is September 25, 2007; the deadline for filing applications for economic injury loans is April 28, 2008.

The Governor asked for the SBA's assistance on Tuesday after receiving a request for that aid from Mayor Bloomberg.  According to federal guidelines, a local government must certify in detail that a threshold number of affected businesses have sustained documented economic loss before the SBA aid can be extended to small businesses in the area.

New York City found that at least 10 businesses surveyed have a gross revenue loss of 100 percent for the incident period when compared to last year and more than 1,000 businesses suffered severe economic damage.


Stu Loeser/Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

Christine Anderson (Governor’s Office)   (212) 681-4640

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