LITTLE ROCK, Ark -- Hurricane Katrina victims seeking federal temporary housing assistance do not need to complete a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application to be considered for such assistance.
Temporary housing assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not require that an applicant file for an SBA loan. FEMA's temporary housing assistance is available to applicants displaced from their pre-disaster primary residence or whose residence has been rendered uninhabitable as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina. Assistance is also contingent on an applicant's insurance coverage and whether it provides for housing needs. But in no case will an SBA loan application be required for temporary housing assistance.
Eligibility determinations for applicants requesting FEMA's temporary housing assistance will not be held up because the applicant has or has not filled out an SBA loan application, or has filled out such an application incorrectly or unnecessarily. FEMA will process applications for housing assistance regardless of whether the applicant has applied for an SBA loan.
An applicant must complete an SBA loan application to be eligible for additional assistance under the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. Even so, applicants who do not meet a certain income threshold may be excused from this requirement. In addition, there are other ONA grants such as public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses that do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan to be eligible.
The SBA makes low-interest disaster loans to qualified homeowners, renters, landlords, certain private non-profit organizations and businesses of any size that sustained losses due to the disaster. These loans are designed for disaster victims who are either uninsured or not fully covered by insurance.
SBA loans are the primary source of long-term recovery assistance. Actual loan amounts and terms are determined by the SBA and based on each applicant's financial condition.
"Taking on a loan probably isn't the first thing that folks think of when they're recovering from a disaster," FEMA Acting Director R. David Paulison said. "But there are strong advantages to an SBA loan. For example, it is tied to the lowest possible interest rate to make recovery as affordable as possible."
The SBA also makes mitigation funds available to many disaster victims who have already been approved for low-interest disaster loans. SBA funds are intended to help borrowers by offering an increase up to 20 percent of their approved physical loan amount to help pay for mitigation measures.
For more information about how to complete the loan application, or for more information on SBA assistance, call the SBA Helpline at 1-800-659-2955 , or visit www.sba.gov/disaster . For more information on FEMA assistance programs, or to register for FEMA assistance, visit www.fema.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech and hearing impaired.
Hurricane evacuees working to transition out of hotels can now be directly connected with one of 500 Hotel Population Outreach Project (HPOP) caseworkers available through the FEMA toll-free number. Callers no longer have to go through the Helpline for assistance with transitioning into longer-term housing. When prompted, callers should select option number one to be connected to a HPOP caseworker.
As of December 16, FEMA's Individual Assistance (IA) program has approved more than $44.6 million to 10,704 Hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuees currently listing Arkansas as their state of residence. IA has approved more t...