Mesa, AZ -- Delays in completing and returning disaster loan applications may delay other forms of disaster assistance, federal and state officials said today. Officials of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Arizona's Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge disaster victims in Arizona to return their applications as soon as possible.
In the wake of the Rodeo-Chediski fire which impacted the counties of Apache, Coconino, Gila and Navajo and the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage not fully covered by insurance are eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans. The loans are available to residents and businesses of all sizes for federal disaster assistance as a result of President Bush's June 25 disaster declaration. Small businesses located in contiguous counties also may be eligible for economic injury disaster loans.
After registering for assistance by calling FEMA's toll-free registration number at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585, individuals who are eligible for the SBA disaster loan program are automatically mailed an application package.
Applicants should file regardless of pending insurance settlements, which can take much longer to process than a loan. In these cases, the home or business owners can use insurance settlements to pay off loan balances. There are no penalties for early repayment of SBA loans.
"If SBA is unable to assist with all of their losses, individuals may be referred to other available disaster assistance programs such as the Arizona Individual and Family Grant (IFG) program," said Sandy Coachman, federal coordinating officer for the disaster recovery effort. "However, until the SBA application is received and reviewed, we cannot move on these other types of assistance. The loan application is the key."
SBA disaster loans cover uninsured or underinsured disaster losses. Under the program, SBA offers loans of up to $200,000 to repair disaster-damaged primary residences. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to replace personal property such as furniture, automobiles, clothing and other household fixtures.
Loans of up to $1.5 million are available to businesses of all sizes and non-profit organizations to repair damage to real estate, machinery and equipment and inventory. Economic Injury Disaster Loans are also available to small businesses unable to pay bills or meet expenses because of the disaster.
Filing an application in no way obligates the applicant to accept a loan. The SBA urges anyone who has sustained losses because of the fires to file as soon as possible.
The SBA will have representatives at the Help Centers to answer questions and help applicants complete paperwork. No appointment is necessary.
The centers are open every day, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. at the following locations:
- Heber: Capps Middle School, 3375 Buckskin Canyon Road.
- Show Low: Show Low Primary School, 1350 N. Central Ave.
- White River: Veteran's Building, 201 E. Walnut (9 a.m.- 6 p.m.)
Anyone who needs additional information regarding their application is urged to call SBA's toll-free number at 1-800-488-5323. People with hearing- or speech-impairments may call the TTY line at 916-566-7388. SBA loans are the primar...