SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Many Illinois victims of the severe storms and tornadoes that occurred March 11-13 have registered with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance and, afterwards, received a loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Officials urge everyone who has received such an application to take time to fill it out and return it promptly.
“SBA disaster loans are the primary source of long-term recovery assistance,” said Ron Sherman, federal coordinating officer. “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 disaster assistance programs.”
SBA low-interest disaster loans are available to qualified renters, homeowners, landlords, business owners, and non-profit organizations who suffered damage or loss due to the disaster. Loan terms on all loans can be up to 30 years. Actual loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and based on each applicant’s financial condition.
“We are urging anyone who sustained losses because of the severe storms and tornadoes to apply for assistance and mail in the completed SBA loan application as soon as possible,” said William Burke, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. While FEMA housing assistance is not subject to SBA loan requirements, filling out the SBA application is a necessary step to being considered for other forms of disaster assistance.
The SBA also makes mitigation funds available to many disaster victims who have already been approved for a low-interest disaster loan. SBA funds are designed to help borrowers by offering an increase of up to 20 percent of their approved physical loan amount to help pay for mitigation measures. For more information, call the SBA Helpline at 1-800-659-2955, or visit the SBA Website at www.sba.gov/disaster. People who want help filling out the disaster loan application can visit a disaster recovery center or loan assistance center operating in the disaster affected areas.
Storm victims can register immediately with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 1-800-462-7585. Both numbers are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week until further notice, and multilingual operators are also available. People also may register online at FEMA’s redesigned and user-friendly website: www.fema.gov.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.