Pennsylvania Business Report: Federal bill would assist businesses damaged by social unrest

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) recently introduced bicameral legislation that would assist small-business owners whose establishments were damaged by civil unrest following the death of George Floyd.

The Helping Entrepreneurs Access Loans Act would appropriate $80 million for 75 percent forgivable physical disaster business loans. To qualify, businesses must have average annual gross receipts of $2 million or less, have been damaged or destroyed between May 26 and July 1, and are in areas declared a disaster by the Small Business Administration.

The businesses also must still be in operation on Dec. 31, 2021.

Loans will be provided up to $2 million for the repair or replacement of a building and its inventory. The damages must not be covered by insurance.

The bill also will advance within 10 days of the application date grants totaling 20 percent of the requested loan amount or $10,000, whichever is less.

“This bill would provide a lifeline to many small businesses in several Philadelphia neighborhoods – many of them minority-owned — and communities across the country that were affected by the recent unrest,” Evans said. “They should not be left behind. If they can’t come back, their neighborhoods will also have a harder time coming back.”