Mesa, AZ -- In the aftermath of the wildfires that struck June 18 through July 7, 2002, most homeowners and renters who seek disaster assistance will receive an application for a low interest disaster loan from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This is a key part of the recovery process. SBA disaster loans are the primary source of federal funds for repairing or rebuilding disaster damage to private property owned by homeowners, renters, and businesses of all sizes.
Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible to borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. SBA disaster loans have low interest rates (around 3.5 percent) and long terms (up to 30 years) to make disaster recovery affordable. Loan terms are tailored to each borrower's ability to repay the loan.
"It is important that anyone who receives an SBA application complete and return it to SBA," said Federal Coordinating Officer Sandy Coachman. "SBA disaster loans are an important source of recovery funds for victims of these terrible wildfires and can help fund repair or replacement costs that are not fully covered by insurance or other recoveries. Property owners without insurance or with insufficient insurance coverage are eligible to borrow funds, including deductibles," Coachman explained.
"If SBA is unable to assist a homeowner or a renter with all of their disaster losses, the individual may be referred to the State of Arizona's Individual and Family Grant (IFG) program," said Mike Austin, Director, Arizona Division of Emergency Management. "But you must return your SBA application and apply for a low interest loan before you can be referred to the grant program," Austin emphasized. "If after being referred to the grant program by SBA, you qualify for a grant, you will receive a check and a letter explaining the losses for which you are being reimbursed."
People who suffered damage from the wildfires should call the teleregistration number to begin the recovery process. FEMA's toll-free number is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). For the hearing- or speech-impaired, the TTY number is 1-800-462-7585. The registration telephone number is available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday until further notice. The deadline to apply for assistance is August 26, 2002.