CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. - If there is one message that state and federal officials would like to share with residents of Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie counties recovering from the August 8-10, 2009 storms and flooding, it is fill out and return your U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) application - Don't Throw It Away!
After an applicant registers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), they may receive a loan application package from the SBA. Typically, people may think that the loans are only for businesses or they simply do not want to take out a low-interest disaster loan - and so they may push the SBA documents to the side or possibly discard them.
"This is where people tend to take themselves out of the process," said State Coordinating Officer John R. Gibb, who is also the New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) Director. "They don't complete the paperwork and miss out on FEMA aid beyond help with home repairs and rental assistance."
Applicants should know:
- Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair/replace real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair/replace personal property. Interest rates for residents are as low as 2.750% with terms as long as 30 years. Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million at an interest rate as low as 4% to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.
- Filling out the SBA application is a necessary step to be considered for some other forms of disaster assistance. Applicants may be eligible for more aid.
- If SBA is unable to approve a loan, the applicant may be referred back to FEMA for some other disaster aid. Applicants may be awarded assistance for personal items, repair or replacement of a vehicle, etc.
"If you received an SBA application, but haven't done anything with it yet, please take another look," said Federal Coordinating Officer Jaime E. Forero. "Contact FEMA or SBA for any questions you may have about the process."
Register or follow up on applications by going online to www.disasterassistance.gov or calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362); TTY 1-800-462-7585. Applicants can also visit nearby disaster recovery centers for face-to-face assistance. For SBA information, call 1-800-659-2955 or visit the SBA web site at www.sba.gov/services.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capabilities to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards.