LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- State and federal officials have an important message for homeowners, renters and business owners in Franklin and Johnson counties: Complete your U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application -- Discarding it could be like throwing away money!
On Friday, President Obama issued a major disaster declaration, making Individual Assistance available to eligible homeowners, renters and business owners in Franklin and Johnson Counties.
After applicants register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), they may receive a loan application package from the SBA. The worst mistake people can make is assuming these loans are only for businesses or simply choosing to ignore the application because they do not want to take out a low-interest disaster loan.
"This is the point at which people often take themselves out of the assistance process," said State Coordinating Officer David Maxwell. "If they don't complete and return the paperwork, they may miss out on FEMA grants. The SBA loan application is an important part of the process."
"If you received an SBA application but haven't done anything with it yet, please take another look," added Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer W. Michael Moore. "If you have any questions, just call the FEMA helpline and we'll be glad to help out."
Applicants should know:
- Filling out the SBA loan application is a necessary step to be considered for some forms of disaster assistance.
- If the SBA is unable to approve a loan, the applicant may be referred back to FEMA. Applicants may be awarded assistance to repair or replace destroyed personal items, clothing, vehicles, etc.
- 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 2.688 percent with terms as long as 30 years.
- Businesses and nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million at an interest rate as low as 4 percent to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA loans can also be used to recover from economic injury with low-interest working capital.
"For many individuals, families and businesses, this was a life-altering event. We urge affected residents in the designated disaster areas to apply for SBA disaster assistance right away," said SBA Public Information Officer Cynthia Cowell.
To Register for Assistance
Homeowners, renters, and business owners in the declared counties who sustained damages may register for assistance by calling FEMA's toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available to answer calls during this time. Those with speech or hearing disabilities may call TTY 1-800-462-7585.
Survivors may also register online anytime at www.DisasterAssistance.gov and via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov and can visit either of the Disaster Assistance Centers to receive face-to-face assistance. The centers are located in Ozark and Clarksville.
SBA representatives at each center will assist in completing loan applications, accept loan applications and answer questions about the application process. Questions can also be answered by calling the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or TTY 1-800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing impairments.
To apply online for an SBA loa...