LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- For the thousands of evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application is a vital step toward federal assistance.
Applicants for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) who receive an SBA loan application in their packet from FEMA must complete and return it?whether or not they want a loan.
Information from the loan application is used to determine eligibility not only for loans, but for grants as well. FEMA applicants cannot be considered for any kind of aid until they complete that task. Unless individual states request an extension, the deadline for filing an SBA application is October 28 for Katrina victims and November 23 for Rita victims.
Hurricane evacuees who have not received a packet because they are away from their homes can call 1-800-659-2955 to request a new packet. Business owners can go to the SBA website to download their own packet.
The SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to qualified homeowners, renters, landlords and certain non-profit organizations, as well as businesses of any size that suffered physical losses from a presidentially declared disaster. The loans are designed for disaster victims who are either uninsured or not fully covered by insurance.
An SBA loan is tied to the lowest possible interest rate. Interest on loans to homeowners and renters can be as low as 2.687 percent and 4 percent for businesses, making recovery more affordable. Repayment terms can be up to 30 years. Actual loan amounts are determined by the SBA on a case by case basis.
Disaster victims who are approved for a physical disaster loan can also receive home mitigation loans of up to 20 percent of their approved loan amount to pay for property upgrades that will protect the property against damage from future disasters.
The FEMA toll-free number to register for assistance is 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 for those with hearing or speech impediments. For additional SBA loan information, call 1-800-659-2955 or go to the agency's website at www.sba.gov/disaster .
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.