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November 7, 2023

$2M in federal relief offered for businesses affected by Lewiston tragedy

Storefront window with a blue heart Photo / Renee Cordes Storefronts all over Maine, like this one in Portland, have been showing their love for Lewiston with blue hearts on display.

Maine businesses and nonprofits affected by the Lewiston mass shootings and their aftermath can now apply for a share of $2 million in emergency relief.

The funding, from the U.S. Small Business Administration, follows a request from Gov. Janet Mills in response to the Oct. 25 tragedy that killed 18 people and injured 13. 

“I thank the U.S. Small Business Administration for quickly approving my request to help impacted Maine businesses,” Mills said in Monday’s announcement. “I encourage eligible Maine businesses to apply for this relief."

She also said that her administration will seek additional, non-loan support for businesses that were affected.

Last week, the Mills administration formally asked the SBA to issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration for businesses that closed in accordance with shelter-in-place orders. Communities including Lewiston, Lisbon and Bowdoin shut down during a two-day manhunt for shooter Robert Card, who was ultimately found dead in Lisbon Falls.

The governor's request for federal relief was prepared and submitted by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development in partnership with the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Lewiston’s Department of Economic and Community Development.

Loan eligibility and terms 

Monday's disaster declaration will make available low-interest loans of up to $2 million to eligible small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and private nonprofit organizations in Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties. Entities in the adjacent counties of Cumberland, Franklin, Kennebec and Oxford are also eligible to apply.

“SBA stands ready to help Maine’s small business owners impacted by the mass shooting in Lewiston, which tragically took lives and disrupted neighborhoods,” said Isabel Casillas Guzman, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

“We stand committed to providing on-the-ground assistance federal economic injury disaster loans to help businesses and communities get the financial support they might need to recover and rebuild their neighborhood businesses,” she added.

Interest rates for loans made available by the declaration are 4% for businesses and 2.375% for nonprofit organizations, with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that could have been paid had the shootings not occurred. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources.

The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits. Applicants may apply online via SBA’s secure website and should apply under SBA declaration No. 20075.

Information for applicants

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard of hearing) or emailing

Applications will be accepted through Aug. 6, 2024.

To assist businesses affected by the disaster, the SBA will open a Business Recovery Center in Lewiston at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, 415 Lisbon St., Suite 100, Lewiston. 

The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., except for Friday, Nov. 10, in observance of Veterans Day. The center will permanently close on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 4 p.m.

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