BEVERLY, Mass. – With the April 22 disaster declaration, low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) became available for flood-damaged losses in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Worcester counties that are not adequately covered by insurance, according to state and federal recovery officials.
The SBA is the federal government’s primary resource for long-term disaster recovery financing. Through its disaster loan program, the SBA provides affordable, timely, and accessible assistance to homeowners, renters and businesses after declared disasters. In fact, 80 percent of all SBA disaster assistance is currently made to homeowners.
Homeowners and renters can use their SBA disaster loans to repair or replace uninsured or underinsured flood-damaged property, while renters can receive help with replacement of essential belongings. The loan terms are designed to be affordable, with maturities extending to 30 years and interest rates as low as 3.125%.
State Coordinating Officer Cristine McCombs said the loan amount will be based on the actual cost of repairing a resident’s damaged home and personal property, minus any insurance settlements or other reimbursements or grants.
“Individuals who do not qualify for SBA loans may be referred to other available disaster aid programs,” Federal Coordinating Officer James N. Russo said, “including grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses.”
Businesses of all sizes may also be eligible for disaster loans to repair or replace machinery, equipment, fixtures, and inventory not covered by insurance. Eligible small businesses may also apply for working capital funds to help cover necessary and on-going expenses during the disaster recovery period.
Current loan limits are as follows:
- Homeowners. Up to $200,000 to repair or rebuild a primary residence to its predisaster condition.
- Homeowners and renters. Up to $40,000 to replace personal property such as clothing, furniture and cars.
- Business/nonprofit groups. Up to $1.5 million to repair or replace damaged facilities, business contents and working capital.
Residents and business owners with flood-related losses are urged to begin the application process immediately by calling 1-800-621 FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The lines will be open Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., until further notice.
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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.