ROCKFORD, Ill. -- Don't let the word "business" in the name U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) fool you. For homeowners and renters, the SBA is your primary source of federal funds for long-term recovery.
Low-interest SBA disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to qualified homeowners to repair or replace damaged real estate. In addition, up to $40,000 may be available to homeowners and renters to repair or replace damaged personal property. (In both cases, the SBA disaster loans can be made only for damages not covered by insurance.)
After you register for federal assistance, if you receive a letter in the mail with an SBA return address, be sure to open it, and complete the forms inside. It's a critical step in the recovery process. Already, more than 799 Illinois residents have been mailed SBA disaster loan applications.
Returning a complete SBA loan application form is required for a household to be eligible for assistance grants that cover personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
Returning the application is not required for a household to be considered for eligibility for temporary housing assistance, grants for public transportation expenses and medical and dental expenses.
SBA officials encourage all applicants to bring loan applications to the nearest Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) or Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) for help in filling it out. The SBA will send it overnight free of charge to its national processing center.
When it comes to businesses of all sizes, large and small, and for non-profits as well, the SBA makes two types of direct disaster loans:
Any disaster-damaged business in a declared county can apply for a loan of up to $1.5 million to help replace damaged property or restore it to its pre-disaster condition.
Even if a business has not sustained physical damage, economic injury disaster loans are available to provide necessary working capital until normal operations resume after a disaster. Those loans are used to help pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can't be paid because of the disaster.
The first step toward obtaining recovery assistance is to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
- Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing- or speech-impaired or register online at www.fema.gov.
Help with applications and information about a wide range of disaster recovery programs is available at any DRC or DLOC. Representatives from SBA and FEMA are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the DeKalb DRC. SBA representatives are available at the Kane and LaSalle County DLOCs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
After the severe storms and flooding from Aug 20-31, the president issued a federal disaster declaration for six counties - DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, Lake, LaSalle and Will. People who live in or own a business in those counties, and who sustained damage during the incident period Aug. 20-31, may be eligible for grants and low-interest loans.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.