SBA Says It's Ready for Future Disasters Two Years After Katrina
WASHINGTON -- Acknowledging that it was "overwhelmed" by the aftermath of the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, the Small Business Administration said it's ready this time after a major restructuring of its disaster assistance program.
Its Disaster Credit Management System can now handle 8,000 simultaneous users, four times the processing capability since 2005's hurricanes. The agency says it can also now draw from a pool of 3,000 experienced individuals who can quickly staff up disaster offices with approximately 900 of these individuals having signed up as reservists and are available to report with 48 hours notice. Fifteen-person integrated teams now oversee the disbursement process workflow where each function is represented, with authority and competency to make decisions, ensure accountability, and manage for results, according to SBA. Non-disaster staff can now be deployed to surge scenarios to handle loan demand.
The SBA said of the $6.9 billion in approved loans requested by borrowers a net $5.1 billion has been fully disbursed in the Gulf, and $.5 billion has been partially disbursed. Approximately $1.3 billion in additional commitments are available. Of 160,000 applicants with approved loans from the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, 99% have now either received all or some of their loan money, or have chosen not to proceed with their loans.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released its prediction that the upcoming 2007 hurricane season will have above average activity.