BEVERLY, Mass. -- Residents and business owners who applied for disaster aid due to the heavy April flooding and were mailed U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan applications are urged to return the completed applications quickly, even if they do not want a loan, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) officials.
“Completing the SBA loan application does not obligate anyone to accept a loan, but it often opens doors to other types of aid that do not require repayment,” Federal Coordinating Officer James N. Russo said.
“Individuals who do not qualify for SBA loans may be automatically referred to other available disaster programs.”
State Coordinating Officer Cristine McCombs said these programs can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. “The sooner people call to apply for assistance and mail back the completed loan application to SBA, the sooner financial assistance can be provided to them,” she said.
SBA low-interest loans are available to homeowners, renters and businesses in the five declared counties (Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Worcester) included in the April 22 presidential declaration. The loans are provided for repairing or replacing uninsured or underinsured disaster-damaged property. Businesses may also be eligible for disaster loans to repair or replace machinery, equipment, fixtures, and inventory not covered by insurance, as well as for working capital to assist them during the disaster recovery period.
People 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 Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.