LONG BEACH, Miss. -- Following Hurricane Gustav's severe weather and flooding, many residents who applied for disaster assistance found they were issued a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application although they were not business owners.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Individual Assistance program covers basic needs only and will not normally compensate a disaster victim for his or her entire loss. Some disaster aid does not have to be paid back, while other types of help may come in the form of an SBA low-interest disaster loan.
After a federally declared disaster, the SBA may provide low-interest, long-term loans to renters, homeowners, businesses and nonprofit organizations of all sizes to repair or replace disaster- damaged real estate and personal property. The SBA can lend up to $200,000 to repair primary residences and up to $40,000 to replace disaster-damaged personal property. Loans of up to $2 million are available for businesses.
"The SBA loan is an important source of recovery funds," said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Michael L. Parker. "However, if a renter or homeowner does not qualify for a loan, he or she then may be considered for a grant from the FEMA/State Other Needs Assistance program, but we won't know that until the loan application has been completed and returned to the SBA."
Based on an applicant's uncompensated disaster losses and financial condition, the SBA determines actual loan amounts and terms. The interest rate for renters and homeowners can be as low as?2.875 percent and as low as 4 percent for businesses.
"We urge renters, homeowners and business owners alike, who sustained losses because of Hurricane Gustav to complete and return the SBA disaster loan application as soon as possible," said Mike Womack, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. "If the loan application is not returned, you may lose out on assistance that may be available to you."
Applicants can return their completed SBA application or get one-on-one assistance with the application at any of the Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) located in the five disaster-declared counties. The DRCs are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following locations:
370 Seargent S. Prentiss Dr.
Natchez, MS 39120
St. Augustine Retreat Center
510 North 2nd St.
Bay Saint Louis, MS 39520
2600 23rd Ave.
Gulfport, MS 39501
(Will close Friday, Oct. 17, 2008)
Washington Convention Center
1040 South Raceway Rd.
Greenville, MS 38701
Wilkinson County Industrial Complex
1495 U.S. Highway 61 South
Woodville, MS 39669
Residents and business owners, located in the counties of Adams, Hancock, Harrison, Washington and Wilkinson, are eligible for individual assistance under the presidential declaration for Hurricane Gustav.
People who have questions about their application, or who want to register for disaster assistance, may call FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with speech- or hearing-impairment may call, TTY 1-800-462-7585.
Information on SBA loan applications is also available by calling the toll-free SBA Customer Service Center, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at?1-800-659-2955, or visit the SBA web site at www.sba.gov, or by emailing mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org...