AUSTIN, Texas -- State and federal officials have a key message for homeowners, renters and business owners in the 22 Texas counties affected by the recent wildfires: Complete your U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application -- Discarding it could be like throwing away money!
After survivors register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), applicants may receive an application for a low-interest disaster loan from the SBA. The number one mistake people 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.
“Completing and returning the SBA application is an important step,” said Federal Coordinating Office Kevin L. Hannes. “By not completing and returning the paperwork, applicants could miss out on FEMA grants that could be available to them.”
Survivors who receive an SBA packet should fill out the application and, if questions arise, call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955.
Applicants should know:
- Filling out the SBA loan application is a necessary step for homeowners and renters to be considered for some other forms of disaster assistance.
- If the 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 to repair or replace destroyed personal items, clothing, vehicles, etc.
- SBA disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair/replace primary residences.
- Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to repair/replace personal property.
- Businesses may borrow up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury.
Texas homeowners, renters, and business owners can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov, or by telephone via FEMA’s toll-free numbers: 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services can call 1-800-621-3362. Assistants are available by phone from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
SBA representatives at each Disaster Recovery Center will assist survivors in completing loan applications, accept loan applications and answer questions about the application process. Questions can also be answered by calling the SBA Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or TTY 1-800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing impairments.
Disaster assistance is available to eligible Texans affected by wildfires that occurred on or after Aug. 30 in Anderson, Bastrop, Caldwell, Cass, Colorado, Fayette, Gregg, Grimes, Harrison, Henderson, Hill, Houston, Leon, Marion, Montgomery, Rusk, Smith, Travis, Upshur, Walker, Waller and Williamson counties.
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.