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Small Business Administration's Buffalo center is staffing up

The Small Business Administration's Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center in Buffalo is staffing up, to help small businesses suffering economic hardship from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The SBA is hiring disaster recovery specialists, who respond to customer inquiries and provide information to the public about the SBA's economic injury disaster loan program by phone and email.

The federal agency did not specify the number of workers it plans to hire.

The SBA said weekend work is required for the jobs and mandatory overtime "could be substantial."

The SBA's Buffalo center, on South Elmwood Avenue, often staffs up following disasters like hurricanes, floods and tornadoes, to assist people and business owners who are impacted. The center's employees work with individuals who are starting the process of applying for loans.

Applicants must have experience responding to customer inquiries and be skilled in using Windows-based software. The SBA said prior call center experience and bilingual language skills are a plus.

Applicants can go to usajobs.gov and use the keywords "disaster recovery specialist."

The SBA is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital for New York State small businesses suffering "substantial economic injury" due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The maximum size of the loans is $2 million.

“These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact," said SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza. "Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing."

The interest rate for small businesses is 3.75%, and 2.75% for private nonprofits.

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