GAUTIER, Miss. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) want to remind hurricane Ivan victims that low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available for residents and businesses in Clarke, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Lauderdale, Perry, Stone and Wayne Counties.
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 who experienced damages and losses in the affected areas. 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 personal property, while homeowners can receive help with repair or replacement of their primary residence. The loan terms are designed to be affordable, with terms that can go up to 30 years and interest rates as low as 3.187 percent for homeowners and renters and 2.900 percent for businesses.
State Coordinating Officer Mike Womack said the loan amount would 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 within SBA lending limits.
It is important that those who receive an SBA application fill it out and return it as quickly as possible, even if they are not interested in a loan.
“Individuals who do not qualify for SBA loans may be referred to other available disaster aid programs,” Federal Coordinating Officer Scott Wells said. “This may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses.”
Businesses of any size may also be eligible for disaster loans to repair or replace machinery, equipment, 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 repair/replace personal property such as clothing, furniture and automobiles.
- Businesses -- Up to $1.5 million to repair or replace damaged facilities, business contents and working capital.
Residents and business owners in the disaster-designated counties who haven’t applied for assistance can register by calling 1-800-621 FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The lines are open 24-hours, daily.
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.