OWATONNA, Minn. -- Victims of the severe storms and flooding that occurred September 14 through September 27 who received a disaster loan application from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) should take the time to fill it out and return it promptly. This includes homeowners, renters, landlords, business owners, and non-profit organizations that have called the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to apply for disaster assistance.
"SBA disaster loans are the primary source of long-term recovery assistance for individuals and businesses," Thomas J. Costello, FEMA federal coordinating officer, said. "The loan application provides necessary information for determining the appropriate assistance for each applicant. If the SBA is unable to approve a loan, the applicant may be automatically referred to other available disaster assistance programs."
While FEMA housing assistance is not subject to SBA approval, filling out the SBA loan application is a necessary step to being considered for other forms of disaster assistance programs.
"We urge anyone who sustained losses because of the storms and flooding to apply for assistance, then return the completed SBA application as soon as possible," said Al Bataglia, state coordinating officer, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Individuals can begin the disaster application process by calling the toll-free registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. Individuals with Internet access now have the option to register on the agency's website at http://www.fema.gov, where valuable recovery information is also available.
SBA low-interest disaster loans are available to homeowners, renters, landlords, business owners, and non-profit organizations that suffered losses due to the disaster. Homeowners, businesses and non-profit organizations may apply for uninsured losses and those not fully covered by insurance. Interest rates can be as low as 3.187 percent for homeowners and renters and 2.900 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. Actual loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition.
You can receive face-to-face help in filling out the SBA loan application at any Disaster Recovery Center. For more information, call the SBA Helpline at 1-800-359-2227 or visit the SBA Website at www.SBA.gov/disaster.
The SBA also has mitigation funds available to many of the disaster victims that have already been approved for a low-interest disaster loan. The SBA mitigation funds are designed to help applicants fund protective measures to prevent damages from recurring in future disasters of a similar nature.
To help victims fund protective measures, borrowers may request an increase up to 20 percent of their approved disaster loan amount to help pay for mitigation measures.
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.