TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Don't let the word "business" in the name U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) mislead you. For some homeowners, renters and businesses, low- interest disaster loans from the SBA may be the primary source of funds for recovery, so those who receive SBA loan applications should complete and return them as soon as possible.
SBA offers disaster loans up to $200,000 to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real property. Homeowners and renters are eligible to borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Interest rates can be as low as 2.437 percent for homeowners and renters and maximum terms can be for as long as 30 years. The deadline to apply for these types of physical-damage loans- to homes or businesses- is July 27, 2009.
Businesses and qualifying private non-profit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. Interest rates can be as low as 4 percent for businesses. Loss of income, known as economic injury, may also be included in a loan. Applications for these longer-term economic injury disaster loans for small-business owners must be submitted for approval by March 1, 2010.
After applying for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) most people receive an SBA loan application in the mail. Completing and submitting it does not obligate you to accept a loan that may be offered. However, returning it is a critical step in the recovery process because you must be turned down for an SBA loan to be considered for some FEMA grants, including ones for the repair or replacement of personal property and vehicles, or moving and storage expenses.
Submitting a completed SBA loan application is an important step in the FEMA application process and can help ensure you receive all the aid you may be eligible for. However, if you don't apply you may still be found eligible for and receive temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation, medical, dental or burial expenses.
If you need help filling out the form or have other questions about the low-interest SBA loans, visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Volusia County, and SBA representatives will help you free of charge- no appointment necessary. Other disaster specialists, including FEMA representatives, are also available at the centers to provide information on a wide range of federal-state aid programs.
If you are unable to visit a DRC and need help, you can call SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or TTY 800-877-8339. Representatives are available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA's secure Web site at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or visit SBA's Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
Volusia County residents who suffered damages or losses from the storms that began May 17 are encouraged to register with FEMA. This can be done at a DRC, online at www.disasterassistance.gov, or by calling FEMA's toll-free registration and Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 800-462-7585 for those with a speech- or hearing-impairment. Multilingual operators are available. Operators are providing assistance from 7a.m to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week.
Volusia County Disaster Recovery Centers
Holly Hill Community Recreational Center
1046 Daytona Ave.
Holly Hill, FL 32117
308 South Dr. Martin Luthe...