You've probably heard that many local businesses signed for SBA Disaster relief funding, but that the funding never came. Let's talk about why
The different loans were complicated. I applied for the big one, the E-I-D-L, or Economic Injury Disaster Loan, or pronounced "Idle" for short. If you know a business owner that received money, chances are they received it from the much smaller, PPP program.
You probably don't know any local, Humboldt business owners that received a big Idle loan, and unfortunately I experienced first hand why that is. When IDLE was offered to California, the government only allowed a few counties to apply at a time. Over the first three days of IDLE loans being available to Californians, many bigger, much more populated counties were given the ability to apply for the disaster relief. Humboldt County business owners were pushed back toward the end of the line, and slim pickings it certainly was.
I thought I was ridiculously lucky that I got my claim in. It wasn't an easy process. The application was all online.. As I filled in my information the site continued to crash. It took me four hours, working on two different computers to get my application in. The questions and material required for IDLE wasn't that big of a deal, the problem was that the site was unstable and prone to crashing..
While I got my application in, many other local business owners were not so lucky. They were instructed to print the pages of the application and write their info on the top of each page, and fax the documents in. Anyone that has a small business understands that government is hopeless with processing a stack of papers over a fax machine, so applying for a sudden thing like a loan over a fax machine is unthinkable.
Anyway, since applying on March 20th for the Idle loan, I felt pretty good about myself, and I figured that I had it made. I called a few times over the weeks and was told a SBA loan officer would likely call me soon.
That call never came. On Thursday the 16h of April I was told that the government ran out of money, and my application would simply not be processed. To make matters worse, the government says that if new monies become available, I must then reapply and therefore lose my place in line.
When I pointed out to the SBA that they are a mess, they claimed that on March 30th I was told to reapply via email and that all old claims from this point forward were going to be ignored. I never received that email, and even if I had, its a terrible lie to tell business owners that are looking for a loan. I would have preferred some honesty from the Small Business Administration, maybe just tell me that "hey, sorry, we gave away all the money and there's none left for you." Take responsibility for your disaster, don't tell me that your website was a mess so my application doesn't get a fair shake.
I sincerely hope that a full investigation is done of the SBA, and that firings and if necessary, jail time, is given to those that screwed this thing up.