COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Hurricane victims in declared Ohio counties are being urged to complete and return their applications for loan assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as soon as possible, even if their insurance hasn't settled, and especially if they don't have insurance.
To date, 213 loans have been approved for $7,231,200 for homeowners, renters and businesses, and all were approved at the low interest rates. Specifically, the low interest rates are 3.187 percent for homeowners and renters and 2.900 percent for businesses with terms up to 30 years. An individual or business submitting a SBA loan application is under no obligation to accept the loan, if offered.
A completed application will also keep the door open to other types of assistance. For an individual with personal property and/or home losses, if the SBA determines a loan cannot be offered, the individual is referred to FEMA for consideration of other possible grant assistance. Those who do not return a completed SBA application may be disqualifying themselves from other types of assistance, including possible grant assistance.
SBA is the primary source of long-term recovery assistance for homeowners, renters, non-farm businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations that received damage during the disaster. "The few minutes it takes to complete the application is time well spent," said SBA Disaster Area Director, Michael C. Allen.
Disaster victims with insurance should not wait for their insurance settlement before applying to the SBA. If they do not know how much of their loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, the SBA will consider making a loan for the full amount of the loss, up to its loan limits, providing the borrower agrees that insurance proceeds will be used to payoff or reduce the amount of the SBA loan.
The SBA also has mitigation funds available to many of the disaster victims that have been approved for a low-interest disaster loan. SBA mitigation assistance is designed to help borrowers fund protective measures to prevent damages from recurring in future disasters of a similar nature. Borrowers may request an increase up to 20 percent of their approved physical loan amount to help pay for their mitigation measures.
To apply for assistance call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or if you have questions about our program or an existing loan contact our Helpline at 1-800-359-2227. The deadlines for applying for these SBA loans are November 18, 2004 for physical damage and June 20, 2005 for economic injury.
For more information visit SBA's website atwww.sba.gov/disaster.
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.