TRENTON, N.J. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) want to remind victims of severe storms and flooding that low-interest disaster loans are available from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These disaster loans are available to eligible homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and qualifying private non-profit organizations in the nine declared counties: Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren.
SBA is the Federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. Through its disaster loan program, SBA provides affordable, timely, and accessible assistance to individuals and businesses that sustained damage.
Interest rates can be as low as 2.937 percent for homeowners and renters and 4.0 percent for businesses with loan terms as long as 30 years.
Qualified homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 for damages to their primary residence. Renters and homeowners may also borrow up to $40,000 for replacement of disaster-damaged personal property.
Businesses and qualifying non-profit organizations may apply for up to $1.5 million for physical and economic damages sustained as a result of the disaster.
Mitigation Homeowners and businesses may increase their loans by up to 20 percent to install protective devices designed to mitigate future disaster losses.
SBA loan amounts are based on uninsured or otherwise uncompensated disaster losses. Disaster victims with insurance should apply as soon as possible even if their insurance hasn’t settled.
If SBA cannot approve the loan application, the applicant may be referred to other agencies for additional assistance; however, they must return the application for consideration of additional assistance. Applicants can receive face-to-face help in filling out the SBA loan application at any Disaster Recovery Center. For the nearest location, call the SBA Helpline at 1-800-659-2955.
Disaster victims are reminded that to be considered for disaster assistance including SBA’s disaster loans, they must first register with FEMA at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 (TTY). Both phone lines are open Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and closed on Sun. until further notice. Multilingual operators are available to assist callers. Registration is also available at www.fema.gov.
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.