COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Victims of the multiple storms that began with Hurricane Frances on September 6 and continued through October 11, who received a 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, business owners, and non-profit organizations that have called the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to register for disaster assistance.
“SBA disaster loans are the primary source of long-term recovery assistance. 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,” said Michael Bolch, federal coordinating officer for the disaster.
The application is the key to being considered for several assistance programs. People affected by the disaster should not delay completing and returning it. “We are urging anyone who sustained losses as a result of the storms, to apply for assistance and mail-in the completed loan application as soon as possible,” Mr. Bolch said. While FEMA housing assistance is not subject to SBA loan requirements, filling out the SBA loan application is a necessary step to being considered for certain other forms of disaster assistance.
SBA low-interest disaster loans are available to homeowners, renters, business owners, and non-profit organizations that suffered losses due to the disaster. Businesses and non-profit organizations may apply for uninsured losses and those losses 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.
The SBA also has mitigation funds available to many of the disaster victims that have already been approved for a low-interest loan. The 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.
For more information, call the SBA Helpline at 1-800-359-2227 or visit the SBA Website at www.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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.