ATLANTA, Ga. -- For many Georgians recovering from the September floods, a completed U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan application is as essential to recovery as a mop.
Federal grants are just one form of disaster assistance available to those living and working in the 17 Georgia counties recovering from the September flooding.
Most of the money for repairs and replacement of flood-damaged real estate and personal property comes in the form of low-interest SBA disaster loans. Just as important, a completed SBA loan application is a critical component to be considered for some disaster-related grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Homeowners, renters, non-profit organizations and businesses of all sizes can apply for SBA loans to pay for recovery costs not covered by insurance or other sources. People with home-based businesses or rental property who have been affected by the floods may also be eligible for SBA loans.
Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters can borrow up to $40,000 to replace personal property.
Business owners can borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA also provides small business owners access to Economic Injury Loans that provide money for ongoing businesses expenses to recover from the adverse economic impact of a disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available even if the businesses didn't sustain physical damages from flooding.
Loan amounts and terms are determined on a case-by-case basis. Interest rates as low as 2.75 percent for homeowners and renters and as low as 4 percent for businesses coupled with payment terms as long as 30 years are intended to make the loans affordable.
Applicants who receive SBA loan applications must complete and return them to be considered for FEMA grants that cover personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. No one is obligated to accept a loan.
Before applying for a SBA loan, register with FEMA by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 800-462-7585 for the speech-or hearing-impaired. The toll-free numbers are staffed every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Online registration is also available at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
SBA representatives at GEMA-FEMA disaster recovery centers will assist in completing your loan application, accept your loan application and answer any of your questions. Questions can also be answered by calling the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired) Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT. Help is also available by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
SBA Business Recovery Centers are open specifically to provide help to businesses. Centers are open Monday through Friday at the following locations:
- DeKalb County: Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library, 2861 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur. Open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.
- Douglas County: Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, 6658 Church Street, Douglasville. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
- Fulton County: Government Service Center, 7741 Roswell Road, Atlanta. Open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
- The counties under the disaster declaration for Individual Assistance are Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Heard, Newton, Paulding, Rockdale, Stephens and Walker.
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 capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.