AKRON, OH- Ohio disaster registrants who suffered damage from the summer floods, severe storms, and tornadoes, and who have received a loan application from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA), should take the time to fill out and return it- even if they don't want a loan, disaster recovery officials said today.
The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA) joined SBA recovery officials in the appeal.
Many registrants who call the toll-free application line, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), to register for assistance will receive a SBA loan application within seven to ten days of making the call.
The loan application provides critical information for determining appropriate assistance for that registrant, and the SBA loan application must be mailed back before officials can determine what type of assistance that may be," said Ron Sherman, the FEMA official in charge of disaster recovery. "If the SBA decides not to offer a loan, the individual is referred back to FEMA for other available disaster assistance."
FEMA disaster assistance covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate applicants for their entire loss. If someone has insurance, the government may help pay for basic needs not covered under the insurance policy. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other forms of help may come in the form of low-interest loans.
SBA low-interest disaster loans are available to residents and businesses of all sizes in the declared counties that were affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. Interest rates on SBA loans can be as low as 2.812 percent for homeowners and 2.953 percent for businesses. Actual loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition.
"We are urging everyone who sustained losses because of the severe weather to register for assistance and mail in the completed loan application as soon as possible," added Dale Shipley, Ohio EMA's state coordinating officer in charge of long-term recovery.
People who have questions about their application or who want to register for disaster assistance should call FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with speech or hearing impairment should call TTY 1-800-462-7585.
The following counties are covered by the Ohio disaster declarations for Individual Assistance: Auglaize, Carroll, Columbiana, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Darke, Franklin, Jefferson, Logan, Mahoning, Medina, Mercer, Pike, Portage, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and VanWert.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.