LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- In the aftermath of the severe storms, tornadoes, high winds and floods that struck Arkansas in late January, victims seeking disaster assistance may find that, along with a possible Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) check to repair homes or rent apartments, they also have been issued a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan packet.
The forms in the SBA packet must be completed and returned before any further assistance can be considered.
"Disaster victims frequently don't understand that a FEMA check may be just the beginning of an assistance package for which they may be eligible," said Graham Nance, federal coordinating officer for FEMA. Most applicants are sent a package of forms from the SBA. Even if they do not qualify for a loan, completing the forms is essential if applicants want to be considered for additional grant programs.
Whether an applicant is eligible for a loan or a grant depends on his or her ability to repay the loan, not on the applicant's income. If an applicant qualifies for a loan, the amount of the loan could be significantly higher than grant money. If an applicant does not qualify for a loan, he or she may be referred to the state-administered Individual and Family Grant program.
Disaster victims who have not yet applied for assistance should begin the process by calling the FEMA registration number 1-600-462-9029 (TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those who are hearing impaired). A FEMA representative will explain the programs for which the applicant may be eligible and review the steps they need to take in the application process. One of those steps may be completing an application for a low-interest SBA loan.
Local, state and federal representatives are available at Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) to assist applicants in filling out the SBA loan packet forms. The DRCs still open are:
- Pulaski County White County
- Mexico Chiquito Building ASU-Campus
- State Fair Grounds Owen Center-Mini Gym
- Entrance Gate #5 1000 Iowa Street
- Little Rock Beebe