OKLAHOMA CITY -- State and federal officials have an important message for homeowners, renters and business owners in the nine Oklahoma counties declared disaster areas due to the May 10-13 storms and tornadoes: Complete your U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan application - Discarding it could be like throwing away money!
Disaster assistance is available to eligible residents in Carter, Cleveland, Creek, Garvin, McIntosh, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.
"If you received an SBA application but haven't done anything with it yet, please take another look," said Federal Coordinating Officer Gregory W. Eaton. "If you have any questions, just give FEMA or the SBA a call and we'll be glad to help out."
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 tend to take themselves out of the assistance process," said State Coordinating Officer Fred W. Liebe. "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 assistance process."
Applicants should know:
- Filling out the SBA loan application is a necessary step to be considered for some other forms of disaster assistance. Applicants may be eligible for more aid.
- 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.
- 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 2.75 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.
"For many individuals, families and businesses, this has been a life-altering event. We strongly encourage affected residents in the designated disaster areas to apply for SBA disaster assistance without hesitation," said SBA Public Information Officer Michael D. Flores.
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 can visit any one of three Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) to receive face-to-face assistance. The DRCs are located in Norman, Shawnee and Midwest City. For more information on the DRC locations and hours of operation, visit www.fema.gov/oklahoma.
SBA representatives at each DRC 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. Help is also available by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.sba.gov/services/di...